Walk Like The Pakistanis

PNS Khaibar of the Pakistan Navy, a variant of the Ada class corvette/light frigate.

SHAH ALAM: The Istanbul naval shipyard launched the third Pakistani Ada-class corvette – PNS Khaibar – on November 25, some four years after the contract was signed. Khaibar is the third corvette of the class but the second one to be built in Turkiye.

Under the contract, two corvettes will be built in Turkey and another two at the Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KSEW). The first corvette – PNS Babur – launched in Turkey in August 2021 and the second one -PNS Badr was launched in Karachi in May this year. The fourth corvette – PNS Tariq – is expected to be launched in 2023.

A graphic showing the timeline of the Turkish-Pakistani corvettes timeline. TRT

All four corvettes are expected to be delivered to the Pakistani navy in 2025, some six years after the contract was signed, unlike our own LCS.
PNS Khaibar shortly after her launch on November 25. Turkish Presidency

The specifications of the Pakistani ships are similar to the LCS as it was designed to conduct the same missions and taskings from anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare and air defence. It is about the same length as the LCS at 108 meters but with a smaller displacement of 2800 tonnes. The biggest difference between both ships, is that Turkish/Pakistani ships are fitted with twin diesel engines and a single gas turbine. The LCS is of course fitted with four diesel engines.
The latest picture of LCS Maharaja Lela taken on August 13, 2022. It appears no work had been done on her recently. Mindef

Unlike us the Pakistani opted to build the ships concurrently with Turkey despite having the experience of building similar class ships in country. This put the burden of completing the ship on the OEM instead of what happened to the LCS.
Sigma 10514 corvette which was the preferred RMN choice for the LCS project.

It is interesting to note that the Ada-class corvette was offered for the SGPV project which turned into the LCS. As it was a paper design at the point (around 2009) – the first ship had been laid down but not yet completed – it was rejected as with the Gowind corvette. Of course, in the end, the RMN was forced to accept the Gowind design instead of their preferred ship – the Sigma – from Damen.

— Malaysian Defence

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  1. That is much better than overpriced Gowind. A bit lighter but cheaper. Moreover with this new government in place i reckon only 2 units will be completed. Someone will say we need to bite the bullet & do it now. Complete 2 units with deck guns and give it to MMEA lol. Then go for the original Damen choice , built fully by Damen.

  2. Another candidate for LMS batch 2

    Not to mentioned that DS Anwar also had good relationship with Turkiye.

  3. Would scrapping LCS and using the equipment purchased and budget for an expanded LMS batch 2 make sense?

  4. zak – ”Complete 2 units with deck guns and give it to MMEA lol.”

    – Are there any naval guns apart from ”deck guns”?
    – You reckon the MMEA has the funding to operate ships of that tonnage?

    zak – ”DS Anwar also had good relationship with Turkiye.”

    Anybody can have a ”good relationship” with anyone but the deciding factor is the need to make a firm commitment.

    ffh2303 – ”Would scrapping LCS and using the equipment purchased and budget for an expanded LMS batch 2”

    Placing a 16 cell VLS and other things on the LMS; plus a heli deck will result in the LMS not being a LMS anymore because of the increased displacement.

  5. “make sense”
    I disagree. We have put in RM 6Bil and to complete we need about another RM 6-8Bil more. However even if we scrap the whole thing and restart (salvaging about RM 2Bil) we’re gonna have to pay another RM 12-14Bil just to redo the whole thing, so not economically viable. As a reminder UK’s Type 26 Batch2 -meaning no R&D cost- are priced at RM 4.5Bil each so any LCS below RM 3Bil is imho actually reasonable. And if we start from scratch that mean we’re adding another 3-4 years on top of the 1 year to redo the selection & tender phase again. We gonna be spending more money and more time if we go for another make.

    What I would like happen is to rescind the previous decision given to BNS to continue, instead reinstate NAVAL as prime contractor to finish those boats within BNS dockyard. That imho would be the fastest & most economical way going forward.

  6. Even if the LCS comes online in 2025. It’s still 5 years before the supposed retirement of the lekir & Lekiu. The Kedah & gagah would reach 30 years old only by 2035, so the LMS2 construction should start when the 2nd LCS is launch and launch a year after the 6th LCS is launch to make sure BNS yard is always running like clockwork launching 1 ship per year.

    The biggest cost in restarting LCS is set up cost as well as re-redesign cost. Its a fixed cost that need to pay regardless if we build 2 or 6 ship.

    Have no idea what scope the final redesign is but I won’t be surprised if the SAM is change to ESSM.

  7. There is no way for them to change it to ESSM, they already bought the MICA launchers and a change to ESSM will mean more money in integration. There is no reason for them to do it then especially when money is tight

  8. zaft,

    no need to change to ESSM. VL MICA NG have the same range as ESSM (40km+)


    Type 26 is a 7800 ton destroyer masquerading as a frigate. Something the size of Maharaja Lela (3100 ton) shouldn’t cost more than RM2 billion. Probably not more than RM1.2 billion if weapons, sonars, missiles, radars etc already bought and paid for.

  9. As for the ESSM, remembered that there’s are no cost nor capabilities reasons for the navy to insist and then subsequent politicians to agree to change the Exocet to NSM.

    From what I understand the navy run several wargame and come to a conclusion that the french weapons isn’t good enough.

    I suspected that The biggest difference between ESSM+NSM with MiCA+Exocet is in protracted capabilities as It is the weapons of choice for the US,OZ & UK which allows us access to their stockpile.

  10. @kakadu
    The Brits categorise Type26 as a frigate and we should stick to the official terminology instead of creating our own unofficial ones. Type26 is bigger, yes, but not massively so vs LCS. Much of the cost for modern warship goes into the weapons, electronics, and propulsion so its not like double the tonnage equals to double the price. It doesn’t work that way. Plus the Batch2 doesn’t include design cost so the lead batch of class woulda been fair bit more expensive to begin with.

    RM 2Bil each is bollocks esp with the current high inflation prices. From 2016 to today we’re looking at a 25% inflation rate so your RM 2Bil is gonna cost RM 2.5Bil today, close to my RM 3Bil max figures had we to restart from scratch again. If weapons and all are excluded then RM 2Bil is justifiable just for the redesign, hull & propulsion alone.

    Mind you this excludes the dockyard adaptation cost which was factored into LCS budget. If we’re to build locally as before, add the cost on top of my estimates.

  11. Zaft,

    You need to look at the timeline history

    TLDM wants a medium range missile, which the ESSM is. During contract signing, VL MICA was a short range missile of only 20+ km range, clearly not meeting the range that TLDM wants (40+ km).

    Only in like past 2-3 years, the latest variant of VL MICA, the VL MICA NG appears and (due to its pulse rocket motor technology) has the same range as ESSM, 40+ km. So now (as is 2022) there is no reason for TLDM not wanting the VL MICA NG, as it has the range that it wants in the 1st place. Even UAE, which also originally wanted ESSM for its own Gowinds, now switched to VL MICA NG.


    Your costings are way out

    The type 26 is basically 4x bigger than the Gowind.
    It also will have way more complex ASW systems than the Gowinds ever will.

    RM2 billion in current exchange rate is around 444 million US dollars, or around 430 million Euro.

    – HTMS Bhumibol Adulyadej (3,700 tons) cost 482 million US dollars
    – ENS Al-Aziz (3,700 tons) cost 500 million Euro
    – FS Amiral Ronarc’h (4,500 tons) cost 420 million Euro (from malaysian defence)
    – BRP Jose Rizal (2,600 tons) cost 190 million US dollars
    – KRI Raden Eddy Martadinata (2,365 tons) cost 220 million US dollars (including ToT manufacture at PT PAL)
    – Philippine Navy HDC-3100 Future Corvette (3,100 tons) cost 280 million US dollars (250mil ship plus 30mil weapons).

    Some of the equipment Malaysia already fully paid for
    – NSM launchers + missiles
    – Bofors 57mm guns
    – MSI 30mm guns
    – Thales CAPTAS 2 towed array sonars
    – VL MICA launchers
    – Sharpeye navigation radar
    – QPD quick pointing device
    – NiDAR 360 degree surface and underwater anti intruder security system

  12. The cost for the first FDI frigate which I quoted as 420 million EUROS is likely for the hull and equipment only excluding the R&D and weapons

  13. kakadu – ”Type 26 is a 7800 ton destroyer masquerading as a frigate.”

    Not set in stone; blurred distinction these days between a ‘Frigate” and ”destroyer” and a ”OPV” and a ”frigate”. Depends on individual users.

    kakadu – ”Something the size of Maharaja Lela”

    Steel is cheap; what’s not cheap is the stuff that goes below decks.

    Zaft – ”I won’t be surprised if the SAM is change to ESSM.”

    Why would it? It was the favourite for the Lekiu Batch2s but that time has passed.

    Zaft – ”From what I understand the navy run several wargame and come to a conclusion that the french weapons isn’t good enough.”

    ESSM in foreign hands will never be as effective as in USN hands because the USN has CEC; i.e. operates on a systems centric level and ESSM is part of a layered defence. Mica is a great missile but has to be operated in conjunction with various enablers.

  14. @kakadu
    You should get your math right before you tell others.
    Type26 is a 146mtr, 7800tons vs LCS 111mtr, 3100tons. It is far from your “4x bigger than the Gowind” neither in dimension nor displacement.

    And if you want to compare ship prices do use OEM prices meant for own consumption. Those quoted, either are built at OEM yards, or specifically priced cheap with certain tradeoffs, or weapons and sensors not factored in the pricing. Mind you the Type26 pricing I gave is without any R&D redesign cost, unlike if we’re to go with a new ship make and needing to adapt it to suit our requirements and those weapons & sensors we already bought.

  15. The type 26 at RM4.5 billions without R&D cost. The hunter class & CSC which is based on type 26 cost between RM15 to 17 billions each including R&D & localisation.

    The FDI frigates cost RM1.9 bil for the ship and RM1.3 bil for the R&D per ship. Please be mindful that RM 5.7 billions in R&D for the FDI is a fixed cost and need to be paid no matter how many ship are build.

  16. @kakadu
    “more than double the volume of the ship” Still does not equal to “4x bigger” in your own words.

    A ship does not have to be overly large to be deadly effective. SG Formidables are close to LCS size and tonnage but dripping with far more firepower.

  17. @Zaft
    You got it right. A frigate class ship isn’t gonna be cheap and if a Type26 batch production w/o R&D already costing RM 4.5Bil, how much realistic would be the pricing for a new LCS plus the R&D redesign? Expecting it to be super cheap at thereabouts RM 2Bil is what got us into this predicament in the first place!

  18. Joe – the point people been trying to explain is, Type 26 is twice the size of Maharajalela. It has more equipment. More weapons. More integration costs, more steel, more etc. It is expected to operate in tougher environments, participate in lengthier missions away from port. Type 26 should not be compared to the Maharajalela. Also the issue is less about cost and more about funding. Assuming RMN only gets RM1b shipbuilding funds every year, 2 RMK of 10 years means the RMN gets RM10b in shipbuilding funds for the next 10 years. The LCS will cost RM12b to get the first 2 ships (RM9b spent is for work already done so need to top up RM3b to finish the ships). Assuming the next 4 ships costs RM1.2b each, the government will need to spend RM7.8b to complete 6 LCS (RM3b for LCS1 and LCS2, RM4.8b for LCS3 through LCS6). This is equivalent to nearly 8 years of funding. There won’t be money left for anything else for the next 10 years if the plan is to fund all 6 ships. The decision to be made is whether to build ships 4 through 6. If not, we can assume RM4.8b of funding will be available for other priorities in the next 2 RMK – e.g. LMS2, MRSS, helicopters. That means the LMS2 contract can proceed. If the intention is to fund all 6 LCS, then LMS2 cannot proceed because the future funds must be earmarked for the LCS program.

  19. The LCS as a programme could be cheap if

    1) get off the shelf from france with high degree of automation, french CMS & french weapons which would put the french in a similar position as the Korean to the Philippines navy, the primary almost monopolistic suppliers to the navy. Still somewhat interoperable with USN but not too much.

    2) get off the shelf ship designs from the north sea countries like the sigma,meko or Absalon which mostly a fusion of European equipment with American weaponry. Highly interoperable with the USN.

    3) get design from SK or turkeye. the Korean & Turks aren’t interested in collective defense or long term relationships but they willing to sell an industry for anyone looking for self sufficiently in defense posture.

    The LCS problems is for various reasons from politics to economics we choose to build a ship for scenario 1 then halfway we try to refit it to perform scenario 2. As we seen with CSC & hunter class putting in the CMS & weapons from 1 country into a ship designs by another ain’t going to be cheap R&D wise.

  20. Like Kakadu has listed, there are options that can be had for around RM1 billion per ship, if we do really have to scrap the Gowind project. What Joe projected as at least RM3 billion per ship is just nonsense.

    Realistically still within our means, if we want to go for that route (cancelling the Gowind).

  21. zaft – ”the Korean & Turks aren’t interested in collective defense or long term relationships”

    Incorrect….. They are. We were the ones the Koreans approached in the 1980’s way before any others but as usual we couldn’t commit to anything long term or substantial. Contrary to your assertion both countries are extremely interested in ” collective defense or long term relationships”….

    zaft – ”As we seen with CSC & hunter class putting in the CMS & weapons from 1 country into a ship designs by another”

    What are you on about? We learnt this long before the ”CSC & hunter class”.

  22. @kel
    People aren’t even sure what are their narratives so you shouldn’t go down their rabbit hole less you get yourself confused.

    There is a huge difference between “4x bigger” and “twice the size”. The counterpoint for Type 26 isn’t in its size nor the equipment but the matter of fact that high tech ships are inherently not cheap and it shouldn’t be so. That ship comes at RM 4.5Bil without ANY redesign cost mind you. The first batch WITH design cost actually weighs in at RM 7Bil so comparatively even at “twice the size” it would be still be a fair bit more expensive than 2x LCS.

    And therefore to compare another here quoting a low price of RM 1Bil is just bollocks. We should not kid ourselves expecting such high tech ships to come with a cheap pricetag. Expecting so is what gotten us into this predicament when the politicians mislead by underfunding the LCS project. RM 2Bil would be a reasonable sum back then, today we’re looking at RM 3Bil due to inflation, USD, and global shortages.

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