Sea Platforms

Malaysia aims to sign for third, fourth submarines by 2040

28 February 2018
The Perdana Menteri-class submarine, KD Tun Razak, in waters off Sabah, Eastern Malaysia. (Royal Malaysian Navy). Source: Royal Malaysian Navy

Key Points

  • Malaysia has outlined plans to procure its third and fourth submarines between 2031 and 2040
  • Plans presented against the Royal Malaysian Navy’s ‘15-to-5’ fleet transformation programme

Putrajaya plans to procure the country’s third and fourth submarines by the 14th and 15th Malaysia Plan, which runs from 2031 to 2035, and 2036 to 2040 respectively.

The plans were outlined in a Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) media statement forwarded to Jane’s on 28 February. The statement was issued earlier to Malaysian reporters on 26 February to mark a change in leadership at the RMN’s submarine force, with Rear Admiral Zulhelmy Ithnain taking over as the formation’s commander from Captain Abdullah Sani.

The Malaysian government broadly schemes its long-term fiscal policies along blocks of five-year periods it refers to as ‘Malaysia Plans’.

The RMN currently operates a fleet of two Perdana Menteri (Scorpene)-class diesel-electric submarines (SSKs) that were procured during the 8th Malaysia Plan in 2002, and commissioned in January and October 2009 respectively.

The boats, which were constructed by then-DCNS (Naval Group) and Navantia respectively, are now based with the RMN’s Eastern Fleet Command at Sepanggar Naval Base in Sabah. The vessels previously operated out of Lumut on Peninsular Malaysia, but have been redeployed in response to security challenges in East Malaysia.

“In general, the government’s investment in submarines has helped to preserve our people’s maritime interest, and the country’s economic well-being, particularly in the handling of the South China Sea maritime disputes,” said the RMN in its statement.

The Perdana Menteri class has an overall length of 67.56 m, an overall beam of 6.2 m, and a hull draught of 5.4 m. The platform has a maximum surfaced range of 6,500 n miles (12,038 km) and a maximum dived range of 550 n miles.

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