24 September 2016
HTMS Laemsing 561 (all photos : Thaidefense news & AAG)
New patrol gunboat for Thai navy
The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) commissioned HTMS Laemsing (PGB 561), a domestically built patrol gunboat, on 21 September after sea trials.
The RTN bought its plans and materials from Marsun in a $20 million deal (excluding weapon systems). It was built by the Royal Thai Naval Dockyard to gain more experience in shipbuilding under a self-reliance policy.
The 520t vessel, launched on 25 August 2015, will cooperate with other Thai services for both anti-surface and anti-air missions. As well as these combat missions, HTMS Laemsing can intercept suspicious vessels, perform anti-piracy and antiterrorist operations, harbour security and search and rescue.
HTMS Laemsing is 58m long, and has a 9.3m beam and 2.9m draft. Three Caterpillar 3516C engines offer a maximum speed of 23kt, and it has a range of more than 2,500nm. Able to operate in Sea State 5, the vessel accommodates 53 crewmen for up to seven days.
Armament is a refurbished OTO Melara 76/62 naval gun, 30mm MSI DS-30 cannon and two 12.7mm machine guns. Fire control and the combat management system are the Thales Mirador and TACTICOS respectively. Elbit Systems supplied the CoMPASS electro-optics.
The vessel has a wide stern deck able to install more equipment and weapons (e.g. missiles) in the future.
VAdm Sutthinan Sakulpuchapong, commander of the naval dockyard, said ‘It took 1,003 days to build HTMS Laemsing. We previously built four classes of patrol vessel, the latest being the Krabi-class OPV, so we have more experience in development and maintenance. We plan to build two more Laemsing-class boats in the future.’
The last domestically built patrol gunboat was the Hua Hin class, with three vessels entering service 15 years ago.
The Laemsing class is expected to replace all ageing medium-range patrol boats under the navy’s 2008-17 strategic plan.