20 Oktober 2010
Second generation patrol vessels of Malaysia (photo : ASObserver)
Malaysia approaches Boustead for six new patrol
Boustead Naval Shipyard has received a letter of intent from Malaysia's Ministry of Defence to undertake the construction of six Second Generation Patrol Vessels (SGPV) with combatant capabilities.
The value and duration of the project are to be negotiated with the government, parent company Boustead Heavy Industries announced in a filing to the Malaysian Securities Exchange on 18 October.
The SGPV will be a larger and more heavily armed follow-on to the Kedah-class corvettes built for the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) under the Next Generation Patrol Vessel programme, although the final design and equipment fit has yet to be finalised.
The SGPV specification calls for a length overall of 99.5 m and displacement of 2,200 tons (full load) in comparison with Kedah-class figures of 91.1 m and 1,650 tons.
Several foreign shipbuilders have submitted proposals based on existing designs that would be modified to fit the Malaysian requirement. BAE Systems is offering a larger version of its 90 m offshore patrol vessel (OPV), Damen Schelde has proposed its SIGMA design, DCNS its Gowind family, Navantia the Caribe-class OPV it is building for Venezuela and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems its K130 corvette.
Several United States-based companies, including Raytheon, are competing for the SGPV's combat and weapon system. The new ship will have anti-surface, anti-air and anti-submarine warfare capabilities and Malaysia has indicated that the combat and weapon systems will be selected separately from the ship design.The government has also stated that all ships should be built by Boustead, although most of the companies that have submitted proposals have called for the first hull to be built in the home country followed by the remaining five in Malaysia. The matter is currently under review.
The SGPV programme is regarded as crucial by the RMN, particularly following the cancellation of a second batch of Lekiu-class frigates. This has led to concern within the RMN that it will lack combat-ship capability in any territorial dispute over the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.
However, the commitment to the SGPV is likely to mean that the Malaysian requirement for a multi-purpose support ship is to be deferred for the time being. RMN sources have stated that funding will only be provided for one ship procurement programme, with the SGPV getting priority despite the RMN's loss of a significant portion of its amphibious and transport capability with the destruction of the landing ship KD Sri Inderapura by fire in October 2009.The SGPV has been given priority owing to the fact that Boustead Naval Shipyard will have no further major shipbuilding work when the final Kedah-class corvette is completed this year.