Sunday, June 28, 2009

Historical Photos Liberated – Seaward Defence Motor Launches.

Going Out On Patrol (1)

HDMLs were originally intended for the defence of estuarial and local waters against submarines but they proved such a sea-kindly and versatile design After the war HDMLs were adapted for other purposes such as surveying or were allocated to RNVR units to provide valuable seagoing experience for this important part-time navy. Some were sold to countries such as Burma, Sri Lanka and the Philippines and became the backbone of their smaller navies.

From the Royal Malaysian Navy roots in the Straits Settlement Naval Volunteer Reserve (SSNVR) in Singapore, harbour defence motor launches had been operated for seamanship and navigational training. These were built in by Thornycroft in Singapore specifically for the Straits Settlement RNVR were outside the normal Royal Navy numbering system for HDML’s. Instead the 23 metre boats received names instead with the first being HMS Penyengat and followed by HMS Pahlawan, HMS Panglima, HMS Penghambat, HMS Pengail and HMS Panji. HMS Panji was later transferred to SSNVR Penang after the branch was established although it seems that the HDML’s mainly operated in the Georgetown area on the west coast of Malaya. There was a number of casualties for the class during the war, these were HMS Penghambat, HMS Penyengat and HMS Panglima while the other three supposedly managed to escape to Burma to join the Burmese RNVR and survived the war.(3)

Thus it is no surprise that the first craft to constitute the Anti Bandit Patrol in June 1948 during the First Emergency consisted of 4 Fairmile type motor launches salvaged from the dockyard, refitted and rearmed with Oerlikons on bow and stern, twin Vickers machine guns on each side of the wheelhouse, and a Lanchester for each crew member. Two were sent up each coast, ML1335 and ML1336 west, ML1333 and ML1334 east, with a remit to stop and search fishing vessels and junks for illegal arms and immigrants. They were crewed (15 each) by the crew of the frigates which were in dockyard hands for a refit like the HMS Loch Glendhu and HMS London. ML1333 operated from Kuantan, halfway up the Malay Peninsular to Tumpat on the Siamese border, and spent her time going up rivers and checking off shore islands for gun runners to the Malaysian Terrorists, mostly coming from Siam. The craft were kept at sea during this period and were supplied by HMS Surprise and given information by Army Spotter planes. (2)


It is fitting therefore that these HDMLs were later progressively transferred to the Malayan Naval Force from the RN's 200th Patrol Squadron in Singapore from 1949 as per the records below, although at the time they were reclassified as Seaward Defence Motor Launches or SDMLs:

Pennant Number (EX) Built Transferred Name Deactivated

SDML 3501 (ex HDML 1081) 8.10.41 1951 Sri Kedah 1959

SDML 3502 (ex HDML 1105) 3.43 1949 Sri Trengganu 1970

SDML 3505 (ex HDML 1333) 15.9.44 1958 Sri Pahang 1965

SDML 3506 (ex HDML 1334) 16.10.44 1950 Sri Negeri Sembilan 1966

SDML 3507 (ex HDML 1335) 2.1.1945 1950 Sri Perak 1966

SDML 3509 (ex HDML 1336) 30.9.44 1949 Sri Selangor 1961

SDML 3508 (ex HDML 1385) 8..43 1950 Sri Kelantan 1965


As my second posting in the Historical Photos Liberated series, I hope you are happy with my presentation of photos of the SDMLs in action in the 1950s.

Notes :
1) Contributed By Daniel Spence, Sheffield Hallam University.
2)Related to me by Richard Lloyd, Editor of the HMS Ganges Association,

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

KLSR Reports On OPS Fajar Ships Return

Kuala Lumpur Security Review has reported on the return of KD Sri Inderapura from Operasi Fajar 4/2009 today. Catch the news here. In addition, the article contains the belated news on the return of KD Hang Tuah last May. Since there was no sensational news during their deployment, I guess there will be not much coverage, if any in the mainstream media of KD Sri Inderapura's return.
Mea Culpa : At least The Star had a small article on this.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Kredit Kepada Standupper Dari Cari.


LUMUT, 22 Jun – Kerjasama dan perkongsian strategik di antara TLDM dan MISC kini direalisasaikan dengan pelayaran Kapal Auxiliary Bunga Mas 5 (BM 5) ke Perairan Teluk Aden pagi ini.

Perkongsian strategik ini menggabungkan kekuatan pasukan tetap ATM yang terdiri daripada anggota TLDM, TDM dan TUDM dengan krew BM 5 yang telah diserapkan ke Pasukan Simpanan Sukarela TLDM (PSSTLDM) untuk melaksanakan operasi menjaga keselamatan kapal-kapal dagang Malaysia yang berkepentingan di Perairan Teluk Aden.
Pengoperasian Kapal BM 5 telah melakar sejarah tersendiri apabila pertama kali di Malaysia sebuah kapal dagang ditransformasikan menjadi sebuah kapal Auxiliary TLDM bagi merealisasikan hasrat dan impian negara khususnya ATM dalam mengamalkan konsep Pertahanan Menyeluruh (HANRUH) sepertimana yang terkandung dalam dasar Pertahanan Negara.

BM 5 bersaiz 132.8 meter panjang dan berkelebaran 22.7 meter berupaya beroperasi dalam kelajuan lebih 17 knot. Kapal Auxiliary ini turut dilengkapi dengan hangar bagi menempatkan pesawat SUPER LYNK dan juga Bot Tempur milik TLDM untuk melaksanakan operasi defensif mahupun ofensif jika diperlukan.

Untuk tempoh 3 bulan pertama, BM 5 diletakkan di bawah Pemerintahan Komander Ahmad Zaki bin Abdullah PSSSTLDM. Kapal memulakan pelayaran dari Jeti Operasi Pangkalan TLDM Lumut pada jam 8.10 pagi ini bersama 59 anggota kapal yang terdiri daripada 21 orang krew tetap kapal yang telah diserap dan dilatih sebagai PSSTLDM dan diperkuat dengan kehadiran Tim Pasukan Khas Laut (PASKAL), Krew Pesawat SUPER LYNK milik TLDM, anggota dari Tim Perubatan TDM termasuk anggota penembak tepat dari Tim GGK dan Tim Pasukan Khas Udara (PASKAU).

Siri kejayaan Operasi Fajar yang dilaksanakan oleh TLDM sebelum ini telah terbukti di mana tiada kapal MISC ataupun kapal berkepentingan kepada negara yang dirampas sepanjang operasi dilaksanakan sejak Ogos 2008. Sehingga kepulangan KD SRI INDERAPURA untuk penugasan kali kedua di Teluk Aden, yang dijangka tiba di Pangkalan TLDM Lumut tengahari esok ( 23 Jun), TLDM telah menugaskan 5 buah kapal TLDM di Perairan Teluk Aden sejak bermulanya misi pada Ogos 2008.

Bagi menangani cabaran kekangan aset TLDM dan juga kos pengoperasian yang tinggi, konsep kerjasama strategik di antara TLDM dan MISC dihasilkan. Perkongsian strategik dengan menyerapkan salah satu kapal MISC ke dalam inventori TLDM bagi melaksanakan penugasan operasi ini, merupakan satu langkah bijak dan penyelesaian jangka panjang terhadap keselamatan aset dagangan negara. Kehadiran kapal Auxiliary yang telah dipertingkatkan keupayaannya ini, diyakini dapat memastikan kepentingan aset maritim Negara di perairan Teluk Aden tidak diancam.

Panglima Armada, Laksamana Madya Dato’ Ahmad Kamarulzaman bin Haji Badaruddin hadir menyampaikan amanat dan kata-kata semangat serta peransang kepada krew BM 5 sewaktu mengucapkan selamat belayar dan bersama mengiringi kapal keluar hingga di Perairan Barat Pulau Pangkor pagi tadi. Beliau hadir dan pulang dari kapal BM 5 menggunakan pesawat TLDM. Dalam ucapan beliau, Panglima Armada turut menekan dan mengingatkan mengenai kepentingan pelayaran ini kepada aset maritim negara di Perairan Teluk Aden.

BM 5 dijangka beroperasi di Perairan Teluk Aden selama 3 bulan sehingga penghujung September 2009 ini. Turut mengiring BM 5 di Perairan Pulau Pangkor pagi tadi ialah aset baru dalam inventori TLDM, KD PERAK.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Happy Huntings!

I have heard that our KD Tunku Abdul Rahman (TAR) was recently involved in war games with one of the French SSNs after weeks of preparations that resulted in only turning in for sleep in the early mornings for the crew. It was a complete privilege for the crew in being able to track the SSN all the way through out the war game period.

Alhamdulillah, KD TAR won 10 - 0 against SSN Rubis despite early worries whether our crew and boat can beat the O’Higgins record of 6-1 wins against the French SSN previously, that resulted in nervousness in our crew when going into the games. I understand that the 10-0 win meant that our boat could hold contact for a given period, with enough time to establish a firing solution in order to conduct a simulation firing against the SSN, where later it was received and acknowledged through Underwater Transmission (UWT) that the target fired against was the opposing boat.

When the inspectorate staff from the French Navy ALFOST embarked in KD TAR for the final week tactical examination, they had admitted their defeat and that based on the post battle report, the other submarine could only track KD TAR 5 times during the whole period of two days two nights of war gaming.

This is extremely good news for the crew of our newest naval service and they are now starting to understand what a fantastic submarine we have. May this high level of service continue. Bravo Zulu to the crew of KD Tunku Abdul Rahman and may they have a safe journey home.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Let's Revisit The EC725 Purchase

A visitor named Reezo had left a message in my previous posting in this blog highlighting the details of the Brazilian purchase of their EC725 fleet. The main aspect of this report that attracts me is the fact that the purchase price of the fleet has been corrected and is now almost triple the original reported price as shown below :

June 30/08: Brazil and France sign an agreement in principle for Eurocopter to build helicopters in the South American country via its subsidiary Helibras. Brazil’s Defense Minister Nelson Jobim reportedly said that the country intended to buy 50 “Super Cougar” models, the first of which would be delivered in 2010. The deal’s value was initially reported as $1.2 billion, but reports put the signed contract at $2.7 million equivalent.
Now since this was the main weapon of the purchase opposition in their efforts to scuttle the EC725 purchase, this report nullifies the assertation that there seemed to be something wrong with Malaysia's own proposed purchase price for our EC725 fleet. I do not want to go into a unit price comparison as this will definitely be an apple to apple comparison even if the full specifications of the two helicopters can be obtained, but the fact remains that the price off-quoted by the opposition has now been proven wrong but it seems that this fact is somehow being hidden by the opposition and our purchase now remains in limbo, either because we really do not have the money to purchase the helicopters even though it has been budgetted for that the new Minister of Defence had to announce that the Ministry has to look at new and creative ways to finance the purchase, or that the whole matter is being kept in the back burner as a convenient conflict avoidance ploy.

In the meantime, Brazil has confirmed their order to become the first export customer followed recently by Mexico that bought six units for 168 million euros for a transport version of six units while France herself has placed EUR 220 million contract for 5 more EC725 Caracal helicopters for combat search and rescue, special forces, and medium utility roles. Compare this again with the Eurocopter's bid price of Euro233.3 million for 10-12 CSAR units to Malaysia and judge for yourself if there really is anything fishy with this tender as being claimed by the opposition to the helicopter purchase that ultimately will save not only the people to be rescued but the crew that operates the new helicopters.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Enters Another Guardian Of The South China Sea

I am happy that after waiting for so long, KD Perak was finally commissioned today. As an old friend remarked in the comments section of a previous post, the date was last delayed because the vessels was only handed over three days after the targeted date even though she was accepted by the Navy five days earlier. Nonetheless the time was well spent to spruce up the ship and get her shipshape as can be seen from the fine photograph above courtesy of Standupper from MPSA forum.

KD Perak denotes a significant milestone for the Patrol Vessel by being the first fully constructed locally by Boustead Naval Shipyard. Despite the long delay from her launching date of 12 November, 2007 until her commissioning today, this was not as long as the initial two vessels built overseas but completed locally demonstrating the shipyard has managed to improve their delivery process although this can be further improved. As it is, the seemingly impregnable wall around the delivery status of the next patrol vessel number 174 PV Terengganu hopefully does not hide major problems to finish her. Instead it is hoped that progress on the vessel instead has been accelerated and her own commissioning will soon be announced to alleviate the Navy's shortage of surface units.

It was announced that the KD Perak will be home ported in Tanjung Gelang Naval Base in Kuantan to undertake patrol in the South China Sea, part of the new Navy strategy to position two units of patrol vessels under each of the Command Naval Region (MAWILLA) from this initial batch of patrol vessel. Thus she will join her predecessors in becoming a guardian of Malaysian national interest in the South China Sea. The timely completion of all the vessels in this first batch should allow the building of the second batch to proceed, hopefully upgraded to either an Anti Submarine Warfare or Anti Air Warfare platform according to the more pressing requirement. This is in the event that the first batch will maintained as pure gunboats if monies cannot be found to upgrade the vessels to either platform eventually.

Edited 5 May 2009 : Utusan Malaysia today reported that the CNO Datuk Seri Abdul Aziz Jaafar expressed his hope to receive further surface assest to fill the critical shortage of surface assets at all the Navy's MAWILLA's during the commissioning ceremony. He hoped that three other patrol vessels by Boustead Naval Shipyard can commissioned as soon as possible. He announced that PV4 (Terengganu) will be commissioned on October 2009 while the sixth patrol vessel will be launched at the end of July 2009.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

PV Perak To Finally Commission Tomorrow?

Despite what a visitor to one of my blog mentioning that she was supposed to commission on the 28th May 2009 after multiple postponement and failing to do so, a more reliable press source has advised me that PV Perak will finally be commissioned tomorrow on the 3rd of June, 2009 and take to the seas as KD Perak. Let's wait for the formal commissioning ceremony shall we.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Launch Of A New Kind Of Naval Ship

Bunga Mas Lima In MISC Colours (photo credit :

Further to my earlier posting, it has now been confirmed that the Royal Malaysian Navy will now operate a new class of ship, the naval auxiliary ship. The latest news announced today regarding Ops Fajar is that MISC Ship Bunga Mas Lima has been launched as a naval auxiliary ship after modifications in Malaysia Marine and Heavy Engineering Sdn Bhd (MMHE), a subsidiary of MISC, MMHE shipyard, Pasir Gudang, today. Despite my earlier speculation, the ship is actually a 699 TEU container ship and has been renamed as Naval Auxiliary Ship TLDM BM5 and will be now tasked for escort missions in the Gulf of Aden. As a result the KD Inderapura now operating in the Gulf will return home as scheduled this month.

The Naval Auxilary TLDM BM5 (photo credit : standupper @ cariforum)

To be crewed by a mix of MISC seamen, navy men and Paskal special forces, the MISC seamen has been absorbed as Malaysian Navy reserves and has had basic military training. They will be responsible for the navigation and maintenance of the ship while the naval men is charge of the security arrangements. As for the ship itself, she operates under international law as a naval auxiliary under military control and enjoys sovereign immunity privileges.

Another View of the Ship (photo credit : standupper @ cariforum)

For MISC, the delivery of the ship is a sign of their commitment to the safety of their shipping operations and crew especially in the pirate infested Gulf of Aden. For the RMN, the operation of the ship embodies the realization of a very component of the concept of Total Defence stated in the National Defence Policy.

This blog wishes the ship and the crew Godspeed in their service and congratulate all the parties involved in finding an amicable solution to resolving the security issue for our shipping in the Gulf.

Postscript : For More photos of the ship being converted, please visit this blogspot page.