12 Agustus 2011
KDB Darulaman 08 (photo : Helwin Scharn)
Bandar Seri Begawan - The Royal Brunei Armed Forces recorded another significant milestone in its 50th anniversary yesterday with the official acceptance of the third and final Darussalam-class Patrol Vessel, which bears the name KBD Darulaman, in Germany.
Dato Paduka Awg Hj Mustappa bin Hj Sirat, the Deputy Minister of Defence, told the Bulletin, "Basically with these three new ships we are fulfilling the capability requirements for the RBAF, as our main priority will always be to protect our territorial integrity first and foremost."
In response to a question on the future roles for the Royal Brunei Navy, particularly on its ability to contribute to anti-piracy patrols in the region, the deputy minister replied: "The Darussalam-class patrol vessels will allow better flexibility for the armed forces to also address other security issues, such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, search and rescue and even to the extent, if there is a requirement for us to play a greater role, such as that, with the improved and increased capability that we have now with these new ships, we can now consider such a request in the future."
But he carefully pointed out that this was "a consideration at the regional level", and that by comparison to the previous fleet of ageing Waspada-class missile gunboats and Perwiraclass coastal patrol crafts, the Darussalam-class patrol vessels would "definitely afford us greater flexibility, as their range and size and capabilities are much better now".
Dato Paduka Hj Mustappa went on to emphasise though that the RBAF's main priority would always remain the "protection of our maritime sovereignty, our maritime demarcation, as well as protecting our maritime assets, such as against illegal fishing".
Darulaman is a #3 of Darussalam class OPV (photo : Martin Groothuis)
Bearing the pennant number '08', KDB Darulaman is the last of the Darussalam-class patrol vessels that was commissioned, together with its two sister ships KDB Darussalam and KBD Darulehsan, to the world-renowned German shipbuilder, Luerssen Werft Shipyard by His Majesty's Government way back on June 26, 2009, which was when the steel cutting and keel laying were first initiated for the KDB Darulaman. Meanwhile, its official launching took place on November 12, 2010, when it was first announced through a Ministry of Defence press release of the RBAF's official acceptance of the first two Darussalam-class patrol vessels.
In the press release issued yesterday by the ministry, the latest state-of-the-art warship for the Royal Brunei Navy was "accepted on behalf of the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam by the Deputy Minister of Defence, Dato Paduka Hj Mustappa Hj Sirat", with the official acceptance, handing over and flag raising ceremony for the KDB Darulaman with the white flag and ensign of the Royal Brunei Navy at the Luerssen Werft Shipyard in Germany.
The ships' officers and crew are at the final stage of their training, according to the press statement, after it had successfully carried out its Harbour and Sea Acceptance Trials.
The KDB Darulaman is expected to start its maiden voyage back to Brunei Darussalam in October and is expected to arrive home in December this year. As with its other two sister ships, the KDB Darulaman is fully manned by a full crew from the Royal Brunei Navy.
Just like its two other sister ships, KDB Darulaman is the third in the Royal Brunei Navy fleet of Darussalamclass Patrol Vessels, which is the first of its class and kind for the world-renowned German shipbuilder and the Royal Brunei Navy.
The ship has 80 m in length and equipped with 57mm main gun and MM40 anti-ship-missile (photo : Martin Groothuis)
Measuring 80 metres in length and 13 metres wide, the Darulaman is diesel powered and was designed and built for an endurance of 21-days patrolling at sea.
The ship is also equipped with the battle-proven Exocet MM40 anti-ship missile and a Bofors 57mm main gun for air-defence and surface action.
With the arrival of the KDB Darulaman back to the Sultanate's shores, it will herald the manifestation of "the commitment of His Majesty's Government in further enhancing the Royal Brunei Armed Forces capability to defend the nation's sovereignty and territorial integrity", as stated in the ministry's 2004 Defence White Paper and subsequent Defence Update of 2007.
With the full fleet of three 80-metre Darussalam-class patrol vessels and four 41-metre Ijtihad Fast Patrol Boats, it will raise the standard further for the Royal Brunei Navy's capabilities in maintaining and defending the maritime sovereignty and territorial integrity of Brunei Darussalam, as well as support the RBAF's efforts in keeping the peace and stability in the region, at a time of increasingly complex security challenges in the form of piracy, natural disasters and fisheries and resource protection.
With a brand new fleet, the older Waspada-class missile gunboats have already been handed over to the Indonesian Navy, as a measure of goodwill in the country's first security pillar of defence diplomacy, whilst the rest of the smaller and similarly ageing Perwira-class coastal patrol crafts will also be "replaced in stages".