Malaysian navy outlines domestic shipbuilding target

07 December 2018

Malaysian shipyard Boustead has proposed a second batch of Kedah-class corvettes for the Royal Malaysian Navy in line with the service’s ‘15-to-5’ transformation plan. The first-in-class vessel, the OPV KD Terengganu, is pictured here. Source: US Navy/OS1 Claudia Franco

Key Points

  • The Royal Malaysian Navy wants to support local capability development to ease the challenges of diversification
  • However, near-term opportunities remain unlikely given Malaysia's continuing economic constraints

The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) has outlined a requirement to support the development of the country's naval shipbuilding sector as the service looks to modernise through its '15-to-5' transformation programme.

A document published by the RMN to mark the retirement of Admiral Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin as the navy's chief in late November called for a "strategic shift" in how it engages with the Malaysian naval shipbuilding industry in line with its future development, which is aimed at reducing its ageing fleets of 15 classes of vessels to five.

The document states, "As a major domestic shipbuilding customer, the government, through RMN's 15-to-5 transformation programme, can positively shape the direction of local shipbuilding industry. This can be achieved by transforming our naval shipbuilding and repair industry with a long-term, predictable, and continuous work order for local shipbuilders."

It adds, "[This] will not only ensure the delivery of capabilities required by the navy but will also result in lower costs of construction, a secure shipbuilding industrial future, and retainment of investments made on infrastructure as well as skilled manpower. Further, it has a spill-over benefit into other related industries and sectors."

The document goes on to outline the traditional maintenance, logistics, and training challenges that the RMN has faced due to Malaysia's policy of procuring from a variety of foreign suppliers. The RMN's existing 15 classes of ships were built in seven countries by several shipyards, it says.

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