12 Juli 2010

Navy Denies Sub Has Problems Diving

12 Juli 2010

KD Tunku Abdul Rahman (photo : Militaryphotos)

PETALING JAYA: The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) has refuted claims the country's first submarine KD Tunku Abdul Rahman (KD TAR) has problems diving.

In a letter dated July 8, RMN Admiral (Laksmana Madya) Datuk Mohammed Noordin Ali denied The Malay Mail report on Friday "No dive for sub.. yet again."

Noordin wrote: "The facts in the article was not true and it did not mention the true status of the submarine at current time. As a submarine operating nation, the security and strategic asset capability of the country should always be a priority.

"The RMN is also concerned by the publication of information on national assets in regard its strategic asset readiness as there are parties who can manipulate the issue and use it for their own interests. Generally, no country will publicise theit strategic asset readiness to the public."

Noordin also wrote: "We appreciate and value The Malay Mail's interest in publicising all matters regarding the RMN as the exposure will bring the duties of the navy closer to the people and at the same time boosting the image of the RMN and the Malaysian military in general."

Meanwhile, a local English newspaper quoted RMN chief Admiral Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar as confirming the KD TAR did encounter some defects and shortcomings - but at no time did any of these defects endanger the crew or submarine to the extent of rendering it unable to dive.

He reportedly said: "The RMN had conducted rigorous safety inspection, appraisal and verification process, similar or even more stringent to that of aircraft safety processes, to certify a submarine 'safe-to-dive' before it was allowed to embark on any mission."

"The KD TAR has in fact been operational, a fact that the armed forces chief (General Tan Sri Azizan Ariffin) can attest to when he dived with the submarine during her operations in the South China Sea on March 5-8."

Aziz had also reportedly said, prior to arriving safely in Kota Kinabalu on Sept 17 last year, KD TAR had sailed approximately 8,300 nautical miles with 31 days submerged out of the 43 days spent at sea.

He added any submarine will have to undergo compulsory scheduled maintenance after a specified period of operations, similar to any aircraft. Aziz explained: "These scheduled maintenance periods have been planned in advance to fit into the operational cycle of the submarines. The KD TAR has undergone, as scheduled, several of those maintenance periods since returning to Malaysia.

"Thus, the news report in February that KD TAR suffered a technical defect which prevented it from diving for three months is untrue as the KD TAR had in fact been undergoing its scheduled maintenance period during that period."

"A submarine is constantly subjected to, and operates in, an extremely hostile and harsh environment which necessitates constant monitoring, maintenance and rectification of the systems and equipment onboard."Inadvertently, as in any submarine in the world, some equipment or systems can and will fail or be degraded in performance."The KD TAR did encounter some defects and shortcomings but at no time did any of these defects endanger the crew or submarine to the extent of rendering it unable to dive, as claimed by the news reports."

The RMN, Aziz added, also viewed very seriously the fact "defence industry sources" had divulged - albeit erroneously - information which were highly classified to the media.

"The RMN will initiate a thorough investigation to identify these sources, as these irresponsible elements can also be divulging information to other unauthorised parties," he said, adding the Official Secrets Act could be invoked on the culprits.

Last week in an article dated 7 July, The Malay Mail reported it was informed by defence industry sources unspecified problems were detected after the submarine completed its tropical water trials last month. A routine maintenance check later supposedly revealed the extent of these problems.


See Also :

'KD Tunku Abdul Rahman' Moored as More Problems Crop Up
07 Juli 2010

PETALING JAYA: KD Tunku Abdul Rahman remains at the Teluk Sepanggar naval base in Sabah as problems have again resulted in the submarine being docked.

The Malay Mail was informed by defence industry sources that the unspecified problems were detected after the submarine completed its tropical water trials last month. A routine maintenance check later revealed the problems.

Since then, the submarine has remained at the naval base unfixed.

It is learnt although the vessel obtained its Initial Operational Capability (IOC), it may take longer to be declared fully operational.

However, the arrival of the second Perdana Menteri-class submarine, KD Tun Razak, on July 2, was a godsend for the crew of its sister ship, KD Tunku Abdul Rahman. The crew is expected to take over the second submarine during its mandatory tropical water trial.

Sources said this was necessary as the KD Tunku Abdul Rahman crew may lose their submariners rating if they remained on land.

In February, The Paper That Cares reported that KD Tunku Abdul Rahman suffered a technical defect that prevented it from diving for three months. The submarine started tropical water trials on Feb 20.

KD Tunku Abdul Rahman was commissioned early last year after undergoing a two-year trial period in France.

The Royal Malaysian Navy procured the two submarines for RM3.4 billion in 2002 from French/Spanish shipbuilders, DCNS and Navantia.

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