06 Mei 2009

Learn Submarine Maintenance From Others First - RMN Chief

1 Juni 2005
RMN personnel training with the Agosta 70 submarine (photo : Klsreview)

The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) personnel must take lessons on submarine repair and maintenance from foreign builders first before they can manage by themselves.

RMN Chief Admiral Datuk Seri Ilyas Din said the navy's long-term plan was to develop its own naval base maintenance crew.

There are several stages of maintenance, he told Bernama in an interview during his one-week visit to France to present the Dolphin Insignia and submarine course certificates to 60 RMN personnel undergoing training to handle submarines there.

The 37 RMN officers and 23 other ranks have just completed their basic course at the Centre De'Instruction Navel here.

While in France, Illyas also visited the French's shipbuilder DCN International's naval yard in Cherbourg where Malaysia's first two Scorpene submarines are being built by the company.

Ilyas, however, said it was highly likely that at the early stages of submarine ownership, the Navy would have to opt for a service provider like a dockyard.

"We've to remember the development of submarines cannot be seen as an operational requirement.

"To ensure we're contributing towards our country's development via the submarine platform, we need skilled workers and excellent infrastructures to support it," he said.

This may mean the navy might sign agreements with other shipbuilders or dockyards to help out with the development at the depot level.

"As with the other ships we owned, we need to spend the first three to 10 years to learn from the makers. After that, we'll do it ourselves," he said.

On another matter, Ilyas said the navy would decide whether or not it would bring back the Agosta-class submarine it acquired for sea training of Malaysian submariners in Brest by year-end.

Agosta 70 Ouessant (photo : Wikipedia)

He said the navy was conducting a study on the feasibility of bringing back the "OUESSANT", the overhauled ex-French navy submarine which was decommissioned in 2003.

"We may bring it back but perhaps not for operational use as the Agosta only has a lifespan of five years (after an overhaul) and that is just enough to train our men.

"Even if we decide to operate it upon bringing it home, it will be too costly," he said.

It would also be expensive to bring it back as a historical piece as it would be too complicated to de-assemble for transportation, re-assemble in Malaysia and maintain it, he added.

(Bernama)

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