07 Oktober 2014
The RMN is targeting an operational entry date of 2019 for the first-of-class SGPV-LCS, according to its chief. (photo : Jane's)
The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) is targeting an operational entry date of 2019 for the first-of-class Second Generation Patrol Vessel - Littoral Combat Ship (SGPV-LCS), according to its chief, Admiral Aziz Jaafar.
Adm Aziz told IHS Jane's on 3 October that the RMN's current planning schedule calls for sea trials of the first ship to be carried out in 2018 and operational entry in 2019. Construction of the first of the six-ship LCS class has started at the Boustead Heavy Industry Corporation (BHIC) shipyard facilities in Lumut, with a 2017-18 delivery date and the remaining five ships delivered at six-month intervals thereafter.
BHIC is building the 3,000-tonne SGPV-LCS in partnership with DCNS, whose Gowind corvette design is being used as the basis for the vessel.
Most key equipments for the new class have now been confirmed. These include the DCNS SETIS combat management system, the Thales Nederland SMART-S Mk 2 3-D multibeam radar, Rheinmetall's TMEO Mk 2 TMX/EO radar/electro-optical tracking and fire control system, and the Thales Captas-2 low-frequency variable depth sonar.
Weapon systems include a BAE Systems 57 mm Mk 3 medium-calibre dual-purpose gun (in a stealth cupola), two MSI-Defence Seahawk single 30 mm guns, and two J+S Marine triple torpedo tube launchers (although no announcement has been made as to what torpedoes will be used). No contracts have yet been placed for the point defence missile system and surface-to-surface guided weapon system; however, MBDA's VL MICA and MM40 Block 3 Exocet missiles are thought to be in prime position.
Adm Aziz also said that the RMN auxiliary vessel Bunga Mas 5 , currently being leased from Malaysian International Shipping Corp and operating as a mobile sea base in East Malaysia, will soon have its ownership transferred to the RMN where it will be commissioned into service.
Adm Aziz added that the RMN had hoped to also have Bunga Mas 5 's sister ship, Bunga Mas 6 , transferred but was unable to obtain it as Bunga Mas 6 was required by MISC to serve as a training platform for the MISC-owned Malaysian Maritime Academy.
Bunga Mas 5 and Bunga Mas 6 were leased to the Malaysian government in 2009 and 2011, respectively, for use as navy auxiliary ships tasked with conducting anti-piracy escort missions off the Gulf of Aden: a mission that ended earlier in 2014. Bunga Mas 6 was subsequently used in the search operations for the missing MH370 airliner, deploying to Australia in April before returning to Malaysia in August. Bunga Mas 5 has been employed as a mobile seabase off the East Coast of Sabah as part of security operations to prevent cross-border kidnappings from armed groups in the Philippines.
Adm Aziz said the RMN would soon increase its capabilities in operations there with nine surplus US Navy Mark 5 Special Operations Boats along with the purchase of a number of locally built fast boats.