Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Why Don't We Just Call It A Frigate Program Then?

As we all aware now, Boustead Naval Shipyard has received the LOI to build six units of Second Generation Patrol Vessel/ Littoral Combat Ship with combatant capabilities. BNS is supposedly negotiating the specifications with the Malaysian Government before they can receive the LOA to start production. Nonetheless despite the general man in the street who may have thought that these vessels would be a continuation of the Kedah class upgraded to their combatant capabilities, a recent Jane's report has stated as per following extract :

Date Posted: 18-Oct-2010

Jane's Navy International

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.

Looking at the submitted proposals, these are the candidate hulls based on the specifications of 99.5 m length and 2200 tons displacement.

BAE Systems offering :Current Length : 90.5 metres

For Damen Schelde, I have chosen their Moroccan Sigma Program as the most compliant to the specs :

Dimensions (m) 105,11oa x 13,02 x 3,75 (FMMM 1)
97.91oa x 13.02 x 3.75 (FMMM 2 & 3)
Displacement (t) 2335 (FMMM 1)
2075 (FMMM 2 & 3)

From DCNS, the most likely candidate is the Gowind 200 ;

Length 103m, Displacement 1,950 tonnes

Next is the Navantia Caribe class ;

Displacement: 2,419 tons, Length: 99 meters

and finally the Thyssen's offering as shown during LIMA'09 ;

Ship's Length: 97.9 m, Maximum Displacement: 2,200 tons

Whether BNS own stretched Meko 100 design is still in the game is anybody's guess now but to me still a contender.

The length: 102 meters , Maximum Displacement: 2,200 tons

What many may not realise it is that unlike the Kedah class that are really FFBNW Corvettes, this new batch ship hulls are going to be effectively as big as the Jebat class frigates and except for the BAE Systems OPV, the rest are actually frigates in design and weaponry, fitted with or otherwise. In fact the namesake LCS of the US Navy are actually closer to destroyer size in length and weight. Thus for me at least, if these ships will be fully armed combatants where they will be as good as frigates, I will no longer mourn the cancellation of the second batch frigates from BAE Systems. These babies will be at least as capable and in more numbers than the planned frigates. In fact looking at the given reasons for Trinidad and Tobago cancellation for their OPV's from BAE Systems, I got a sense of deja vu with our own experience with the Jebat class. Maybe this should be a factor in our evaluation eh and so be damn with our naval traditions. Now the remaining quandary for me is , if these new ships will still be called patrol vessels rather than frigates when they enter service and thus continue the naming tradition using Malaysian state names, to which ship shall we then entrust the name of KD Hang Tuah once the current ship is decommissioned, since his four brethren will still be in service then.


izzat said...

Hopefully,the navy will equip the sgpv with capable vl anti air missile system with capable area air defense to compensate the cancellation of batch 2 lekiu such as the VL ESSM/Aster 15 or at least vl mica/umkhonto/seasparrow.

Izzat said...

Hopefully the navy will equip the sgpv with capable area air defense sam such as Vl ESSM/Aster15 or at least VL mica/umkhonto or seaparrow

Api said...

Don't worry la... a fully fitted out light frigate is the product. Mumuchi - your guesses on the designs offered are partly correct. However, cannot say more due to confidentiality la!

mumuchi said...

Thanks Api for your visit and comment. I fully respect your professionalism and shall ask no more bro!