Saturday, July 25, 2009
No Longer 27 Units Is It?
On the day I beseeched here for the Government to continue with the building of additional patrol vessels for the Royal Malaysian Navy, the Prime has responded in this Bernama article that as expected this will depend on the affordability of the Government to continue the program despite the Ministry of Defence intention to continue. However what caught my attention is this is the first time it was officially stated that the number of units may now end at 18 units instead of the 27 units planned at the beginning of the program. This actually makes sense since the patrol vessels are being stationed at three different naval bases regionally, so to have three squadrons of six vessels each to patrol the area would be good enough.
I would rather use the savings from the deletion of the additional nine units to complete our frigate squadron to six, be it the same design as the existing frigates or of new designs. This is because however you may want the navy to be strengthened, additional patrol units is not the answer as no matter how you look at it, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency is actually being well equipped to undertake the intermediate and coastal patrol duties by getting their own offshore patrol vessels in addition to the Langkawi class (Ex-Musytari class) already in service. Therefore the navy should accept the number of eighteen units of patrol vessels for their fleet and now lobby for new strike units instead, be it the additional frigates or the Fast Attack Craft replacement in the form of Littoral Combat Ships, enabling the navy to concentrate on their core business, to engage enemy strike units with their own powerful strike force.