SHAH ALAM: You Win Some, You Lose Some. In the previous post, we discussed about the possibility of the RMN getting more hulls, specifically China-made warships. Several readers suggested that there wasn’t not enough funds for RMN to get its cake and eat it too.
While its true that maintaining a bunch of old ships is hard on the RMN, its operational budget has really taken a beating since it started operating the submarines. And its RMK11 development budget is being consumed by the LCS.
The 15-to-5 plan – it is claimed – will solve the operational budget issue by reducing the hull types from the current 15 to five. However, I do not think this will solve the issue completely as the RMN still needs a higher operational budget.
If the plan is approve and the RMN gets more hulls, its imperative its gets higher operational budget, otherwise it cannot afford to operate the ships!
But how is the RMN going to get new hulls – whether or not based on the 15-to-5 plan – when the development budget has been consumed by the LCS? Well, you win some, you lose some.
In my post,Five Things We Are Getting in RMK11, I wrote that the RMN ASW helicopters has been green-lighted.
The project to equip the RMN with six ASW helicopters was supposed to be funded in RMK10. However it was deferred. Fortunately it has now been revealed that the project had been approved for RMK11
Industry sources have told me that since the emphasis is for RMN to get more more hulls, it is likely that the ASW helicopters funding would be diverted to the project instead.
Whether or not this will mean that it’s getting the two C28A corvette or four LMS we discussed previously, is beyond me at the moment, however.
And there are moves to get the ASW helicopter project off the ground, most likely by upgrading them.
At DSA 2016, Global Komited Sdn Bhd signed an agreement with Finmeccanica for the promotion, marketing and distribution of AW159 naval helicopters to the Malaysian government. The agreement also covers the upgrade of the current Super Lynx helicopters in service with RMN.
I have been told that apart from buying new build ASW helicopters, RMN Super Lynx could be upgraded with ASW equipment instead. The upgrading route is being pursued although an industry source told me that fitting the Super Lynx with ASW equipment will be an expensive and tedious affair.
Several local industry sources however disputed this saying it was just a smoke screen for us to buy new build helicopters. They insisted upgrading the Super Lynx helicopters for ASW was a viable project although the OEM was not so keen about it.
Furthermore, by turning the ASW program into an upgrade project, will result in it being funded by the operational budget. Whatever, the case, the project has been shelved – for the moment at least – as the intention is now to get more hulls for the RMN, ASAP.
You win some, you lose some.
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