Home' Defence Review Asia : DRA March-April 2017 Contents Because of the budget situation, the army has
not planned for any major procurement programs. A
program to upgrade the Army's fleet of 4x4 Condor
APCs - an estimated 300 vehicles from the original
fleet of 459 vehicles delivered in the 1980s - is
currently in the proof of concept stage. Malaysia's
Deftech has a prototype vehicle that is being trialed
by the Army. Former Army Chief General Raja
Affandi told the writer that the upgrade program
would enable the Army to deal with the budget
constraints that prevented the Condors from being
replaced by new vehicles.
ROYAL MALAYSIAN NAVY
Following his appointment as RMN Chief in
November 2015, Admiral Ahmad Kamarulzaman
announced his intention to recapitalised the existing
RMN fleet from its current 15 classes of ships to
5 main ship classes under a plan known as "15 to
5". Admiral Kamarulzaman has told the author that
the execution of this plan will allow the RMN to
eventually divest much of its aging fleet, which is
taking up a significant portion of the RMN's budget
for maintenance and support.
The 15 to 5 plan calls for the RMN's fleet to
comprise ideally 12 Littoral Combat Ships, adding
six more to the six that will be constructed, 18
Kedah Class Next Generation Patrol vessels, adding
12 more to the six in service. These additional
12 ships would be armed with surface to surface
and surface to air missile systems, 18 Littoral
Mission Ships, 3 Multi-Role Support Ships and 4
submarines, adding two more to the two Scorpene
class submarines in service.
It has not been stated whether the two additional
submarines will be of the same class.
However the 15 to 5 numbers represent a desired
end state by around 2030 rather than any actual
budgetary allocation and scheduled timeframe.
Admiral Kamarulzaman told the author that the 15
to 5 plan depends on the availability of finances
allowing the procurement of ships under the plan.
The Littoral Mission Ship program is expected
to be formalised this year following Malaysia's
announcement in November 2016 that it had agreed
with China on the construction of four of this class.
The decision raised many eyebrows - though it should
be kept in mind that the proposed Littoral Mission
Ship agreed upon is a 65m craft that will only carry
guns as its primary armament. No missiles will be
fitted - though the ship will have the mountings and
electrical wiring done for a future installation should
such systems be deemed necessary.
The exact hull design, full specifications and
final costs have yet to be revealed. During the
announcement in November it was stated that
Malaysia and China would be negotiating on the
terms of the agreement, which will see two of the
ships built in each country. Malaysia's Boustead
Heavy Industry Corporation (BHIC) - the builders of
the RMN's Littoral Combat Ship -- will carry out the
Malaysian portion of the agreement. The planned
timeframe for the completion of the ships will be 24
months after the signing of the contract.
Defence Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein
was quoted by the Malaysian media on 8 November
2016 as stating that the total cost of the four
ships would be capped at RM250 million (US $56
million) per ship. While the 15 to 5 plan calls for 18
Littoral Mission Ships, so far only these four will be
built and the navy will likely wait to see how they
actually perform in operations before committing to
The 15 to 5 Plan also calls for three Multi-Role
Support Ships (MRSS) - a longstanding RMN
requirement that has been stalled since 2006 owing
to a lack of funds. On 2 November 2016, during the
Indo Defence 2016 exhibition in Jakarta, Malaysia's
BHIC signed an MOU with Indonesia's PT PAL on a
collaboration effort for the MRSS. The proposed ship
design is based upon PT PAL's Makassar class LPD.
Indonesian media reports in December 2016 and
February 2017 quoted PT PAL officials as saying the
company was in the midst of designing the ship to
meet the RMN's requirement. So far in Malaysia, no
specific announcement or formal funding allocation
has been made. Admiral Kamarulzaman told the
media in February 2017 that the MRSS would be
the next program after the Littoral Mission Ship - but
subject to funding being available.
The RMN in the meantime is likely to commission
its two Samudera class training ships this year.
The two 75m vessels are a collaboration effort by
Malaysian shipbuilder NGV Tech and the Republic
of Korea's DSME, based on a DSME design.
The two ships were originally scheduled to have
been completed and in service by 2013, but the
bankruptcy of NGV Tech left the ships in limbo
while a court determined whether the NGV Tech's
creditors had a claim on them.
In that period, the Royal Malaysian Navy took
responsibility for looking after the uncompleted ships.
In 2015, the matter was resolved, thus allowing the
Malaysian government to appoint Grade One Marine
shipyard to carry out work to complete the two ships.
The entry of the two training ships will allow the RMN
to decommission its current ship, the frigate KD Hang
Tuah - an ex-Royal Navy vessel that was launched in
1966 and transferred to the RMN in 1977.
ROYAL MALAYSIAN AIR FORCE
The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF)
requirement for a Multi Role Combat Aircraft
requirement to replace its MiG-29s remains
unfulfilled - despite the requirement dating back
to 2010. The latest news in regard to this is that
Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told
the media in January this year that a decision
for MRCA would be made before 2020. At the
same time he cautioned that any deal would be
contingent upon Malaysia's economy.
Earlier in October 2016, he had reportedly said to
the media that the Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter
Typhoon were shortlisted, while the Boeing F/A-18
Super Hornet and Saab Gripen had been ruled out.
Since Malaysia has yet to make any formal decision
on the program, both Boeing and Saab continue to
market their aircraft to Malaysia.
Given the fiscal situation in Malaysia though, it
An RMAF C-130 Hercules landing at Subang Airport. An upgrade program by Malaysia's
AIROD and a foreign partner is expected to commence this year. Photo: Dzirhan Mahadzir
DefenceReviewAsia | MARCH/APRIL 2017 19
Links Archive DRA Jan-Feb 2017 DRA May-June 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page