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Posts Tagged ‘Tentera Laut DiRaja Malaysia

One of the things introduced by the Najib Razak administration is for Ministers to go down to the ground and meet with the frontliners, learn about the problems that they face as well as consider the proposals from them on how things can be done better.  The days of “I’m a Minister therefore I know better” or “You are new therefore you know nothing” are over.

Sun Tzu quoted in Chapter 10 of the ‘Art of War‘:

Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.

Taking queue from both his boss and Sun Tzu, Minister of Defence Dato’ Sri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein rushed off to Kuantan after the conclusion of the recent National Security Council meeting to rendezvous with the Royal Malaysian Navy frigate KD Lekiu which was conducting a patrol in the South China Sea.  Despite the very limited time that he has, he made it a point to meet the frontliners to see how they are getting on while keeping the nation safe and secure during the fasting month.

Hishammuddin looking at the KD Lekiu before landing (taken from the Minister’s Twitter)

Hishamuddin, who was accompanied by the Chief of the Armed Forces  General Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor, and the Chief of Navy Admiral Tan Sri Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin RMN, landed on board the KD Lekiu at 5.30pm and was met by the Commanding Officer of the KD Lekiu, Captain Mohd Fadzli Kamal Mohd Mohaldin RMN who then gave the Minister a short safety briefing.

Hishammuddin saying goodbye to the crew of the EC725

When the Ec725 helicopter took off and flew by the starboard side of the KD Lekiu, Hishammuddin said, “That helicopter crew is excellent, and for it to be able to land on this ship shows great cooperation between the Air Force and the Navy.  That is how the services, the Army included, depend on each other for support.”

True enough. It was the first time that the KD Lekiu had accepted the EC725 on its flight deck.

On board the Minister spent his time talking to the officers and men, asking them how do they find spending Ramadhan and Aidil Fitri away from home.  There are times that the KD Lekiu, like many other man-o-wars in the navy, have to spend up to three months at sea away from home, regardless of the festive seasons.

This scene is repeated throughout the Minister’s visit – officers and crew asking for a photo op with the Minister and the latter is always obliging

Through the Royal Malaysian Navy’s “Rakan Maritim” (RAKAM) program where the maritime community especially the commercial fishermen work hand-in-hand with the Navy to provide information especially on crime at sea,  the fishing community has been providing such support especially through the “Initiatif Bertanya Khabar” (IBK) conducted by the individual naval vessels that are on patrol.  A fishing trawler that was hailed came alongside.

The Minister is seen helping a trawler crew come on board

Encik Ramli bin Isa and Fauzi bin Omar had been out at sea for four days with another crew member.  The moment they realised that it was the Minister himself whom had helped them up, their face lit up.  The Minister, General Raja Mohamed Affandi and Admiral Ahmad Kamarulzaman asked them how they were and if they find that the waters are safe from foreign elements.

I later asked the two fishermen of the Navy’s initiative.  They are very happy with it and find it reassuring that the Navy has been actively making its presence felt.  On meeting the Minister, they were very surprised that a Minister would want to even ask how they are.

I know he must be really busy but for him to make time to ask me how I am is like having a dream come true,” said Encik Ramli.

Hishammuddin later gave some food to the fishermen for them to break fast with.

Hishammuddin later had a talk with some of the crew which was also attended by the Commanding Officer and the Chief of Navy.  There, the Minister related to the men the government’s plans for the Navy, and how the Ministry is working hard to facilitate the Navy’s 15-to-5 transformation program.

DS Hishammuddin and TS Ahmad Kamarulzaman spend a few moments with the men of the KD Lekiu

Tan Sri Kamarulzaman is happy with the progress of the 15-to-5 transformation program where the Royal Malaysian Navy will limit its fleet types to just five instead of the current fifteen.  The program will see the RMN operating only Littoral Mission Ships, Littoral Combat Ships, New Generaion Patrol Vessels, Multirole Support Ships, and Submarines.

RMN’s 15-to-5 transformation program (courtesy of Senang Diri)

As we waited for maghrib prayers, Dato’ Sri Hishammuddin said to me, “I’m amazed by these navy people.  They stay months at sea guarding our waters.

I guess we’ll just have to make the public understand about what they do out here,” I replied.

The Minister frowned and replied with a sigh, “That is another matter. It is so difficult to get the public to understand wht these people do here, the hardship they have to go through. Imagine if these people are not here to do their duty. Mosul, Aleppo can happen here.”

It is so damned hard to get the support of the people, especially from the non-Malays, let alone to get them to join.  But when something happens, they would be the first to condemn, especially so in the case of the fatal crash that killed two of our RMAF pilots.

The usual comments made especially by the non-Malays about the Malaysian Armed Forces

How the realisation that without the Malaysian Armed Forces this country would be in ruins escapes them puzzles me.  It is because of these men and women that they are able to wake up in the morning and make money, and then go home to sleep peacefully.

Perhaps it is time for the National Service to be what it is – a two-year active duty upon attaining the age of 18, followed by a 10-year stint as reservists.  That would probably make them have a better understanding of the Armed Forces and love the country as something more than just a place to make money in.

In the meantime, the men of the KD Lekiu will continue to be vigilant so we can all wake up shamelessly in total ignorance of their existence.

The Royal Malaysian Navy has announced the procurement of up to four vessels from China for its Littoral Mission Ships programme. The Type 056 corvettes virtually matches the requirements of the RMN (image by Wikipedia)

The Royal Malaysian Navy has announced the procurement of up to four vessels from China for its Littoral Mission Ships programme. The Type 056 corvettes virtually matches the requirements of the RMN (image by Wikipedia)

The dust has yet to settle.  Pro-US tweethandles have been lambasting Malaysia for its ‘shift’ in trade approach – a whopping RM143.64 billion (USD34.4 billion) worth of MoUs have been signed between the two countries that includes what Prime Minister Najib Razak termed as ‘a landmark deal’ – the purchase of four vessels from China to fulfill the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN)’s ‘Littoral Mission Ship (LMS)’ programme.  It is a ‘landmark’ deal because it is a departure from the usual military purchases from Western manufacturers.

However, shift it is not.  Between January and August of 2016 Malaysian exports totalled RM500.33 billion (USD119.72 billion) with China being the second largest buyer of Malaysian products at RM58.93 billion (USD14.10 billion) surpassing the US by RM6.51 billion (USD 1.56 billion).  In the same corresponding period for 2015, China imported RM18.52 billion (USD4.43 billion) more than the US. Malaysia has been trading with China since 1974.

Given the requirements of the RMN, the platform that would be most suitable for the LMS programme is the Type 056 Corvette.  The RMN had embarked on several programmes such as the Kedah-class NGPV and the Samudera-class Training vessels with local yards being the preference.  In both programmes, the local yards had failed to manage the projects efficiently and effectively causing delays the RMN could not afford.  Extra funds had to be pumped in in order to complete the projects.

The ‘KD Perak’, first of the Kedah-class NGPVs to be constructed locally was laid down in March of 2002 and was launched on the 12th November 2007, more than five years compared to less than 18 months for the first two that were constructed at Blohm & Voss as well as the HDW yards. She was only commissioned on the 3rd June 2009, seven years and three months after being laid down!  In the end, due to the rising cost to complete the vessels that had been laid down, only six of the Kedah-class was built out of the 27 planned.  This had left the RMN barely able to patrol Malaysian waters as almost all the 40-year old patrol crafts had been taken out of service.

The Samudera-class programme in 2011 called for two training ships namely the Gagah Samudera and the Teguh Samudera to be constructed at a local yard in Sijangkang, Selangor.  Due to a mismanagement of the programme the yard was unable to complete both vessels although both had been launched in 2012 and had to fold up when a creditor took them to court in 2013. In late 2015, funds were made available only for the Gagah Samudera and a yard in Lumut was selected to complete her fitting out.  As of October 2016, she is still undergoing her testing phase. The fate of the Teguh Samudera is still not known.

The Chinese option gives the RMN the edge of procuring proven modern vessels that are common-of-the-shelf (COTS) for a lot less. This augurs well with the RMN as her assets are being stretched thin, with combat boats such as the CB90 doing crew change and supply runs to the various RMN stations located in the Spratlys. Two years ago last month one CB90 went missing for more than a day in rough seas.  With the LMS coming online, these tasks could be handed over to these more capable vessels.

Despite being known as a strong ally of the US, the Royal Thai Navy has been using Chinese-made vessels since the mid 1990s when the first two frigates, HTMS Naresuan and HTMS Taksin were commissioned in 1995.  Newer and more modern vessels such as the HTMS Pattani and HTMS Narathiwat were commissioned between 2005 and 2007.

htms-narathiwat

Royal Thai Navy’s OPV HTMS Narathiwat

Bring COTS model the Type 056 corvette can be obtained quickly as compared to its American contemporary, the Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship (LSC).  The Type 056 corvette began production in 2012. To date People’s Liberation Army – Navy (PLAN-N) have commissioned its 25th vessel compared to three of the Freedom-class vessels which began production in 2005. With automation being the key feature of the Type 056, a single unit requires only up to 60 officers and men to operate with a mission endurance of about 21 days compared to the Freedom-class that requires 115 men with the same endurance.  This will definitely reduce RMN’s cost of operating each LMS.

The purchase of the China-made vessels also fits into the RMN’s ’15-to-5′ armada transformation programme which aims at reducing the current fifteen classes of vessels built in seven countries to just five – the Littoral Combat Ships (LCS); New Generation Patrol Vessels (NGPV); Littoral Mission Ships (LMS); Multi-Support Ships (MRSS) and submarines.

The move offers the RMN a broader spectrum to choose from for platforms that are fit for purpose based on mission capabilities and the RMN doctrine. This would make the armada more cost-effective to manage and maintain.  We have the leadership of the RMN to thank for finally taking the step to transform the organisation into a lean and mean fighting force.

 

  • In: Defence
  • Comments Off on Pertahanan: Terhempas Atau Pendaratan Kecemasan?
Helikopter Sikorsky S-61A4 Nuri milik TUDM yang telah melakukan pendaratan cemas di SMK Balung, Tawau

Helikopter Sikorsky S-61A4 Nuri milik TUDM yang telah melakukan pendaratan cemas di SMK Balung, Tawau

Hari ini saya diajukan beberapa soalan dari berbagai pihak mengenai kejadian yang melibatkan sebuah pesawat helikopter Sikorsky S-61A4 Nuri milik TUDM di Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Balung, Tawau.  Untuk memudahkan penulisan, izinkan saya menulis dalam bentuk soalan-soalan yang telah diajukan kepada saya:

SOALAN 1: Media telah menggunakan perkataan “terhempas” namun pihak TUDM menggunakan istilah “mendarat cemas.”  Boleh Kapten terangkan perbezaan kedua-dua istilah tersebut?

Istilah “terhempas” menggambarkan suatu situasi diluar kawalan.  Sebagai contoh, pesawat mengalami kegagalan sepenuhnya fungsi alat kawalan yang mengakibatkan sesuatu pesawat itu terus jatuh diluar kawalan (uncontrolled descent).

Contoh-contoh dalam negeri yang terbaik termasuk kejadian helikopter terhempas yang mengorbankan Allahyarham Datuk Seri Jamaluddin Jarjis pada tahun 2015, dan kejadian helikopter terhempas di Sri Damansara pada tahun 1997.

Akibat kejadian “terhempas” kebiasaannya akan mengakibatkan kemusnahan total kepada kerangka pesawat, disertai kehilangan jiwa dan/atau kecederaan parah kepada majoriti penumpang.

Mendarat cemas” ataupun “pendaratan kecemasan” ialah suatu tindakan yang dilakukan sebagai respon kepada sesuatu kejadian kecemasan, contohnya respon juruterbang kepada kegagalan fungsi enjin pesawat. Dalam kejadian semalam pada pengamatan saya, juruterbang telah bertindak untuk cuba mendaratkan pesawat di suatu tempat lapang di antara dua blok sekolah menggunakan kaedah “auto-rotation” namun telah tidak cukup masa untuk mencapai kawasan tersebut.  Siasatan oleh pihak TUDM akan memberi lebih pencerahan mengenai kejadian ini.

SOALAN 2: Pada pendapat Kapten, apa punca kejadian? Adakah ia boleh dielak?

Semua kejadian boleh dielak. Namun kita tiak boleh menjangkakan sesuatu yang bakal berlaku walaupun semua langkah telah diambil untuk mengelak sebarang kejadian yang tidak diingini.  Contoh terbaik: Lewis Hamilton terpaksa keluar dari perlumbaan F1 di litar Sepang baru-baru ini walaupun sedang mendahului para pesaing lain akibat kerosakan enjin walaupun penyelenggaraannya amat baik.  Hanya siasatan terperinci dapat memberi gambaran punca kerosakan kepada pesawat Nuri tersebut dan juga kereta yang dipandu Lewis Hamilton tempoh hari.

SOALAN 3: Masalah teknikal dikatakan antara punca kejadian. Adakah wujud faktor tersebut atau Nuri itu sendiri tidak boleh diselenggarakan lagi kerana usianya yang sudah lanjut?

TUDM, sayap udara TLDM dan Pasukan Udara Tentera Darat mempunya rejim penyelenggaraan pesawat yang amat baik. Usia lanjut sesebuah pesawat itu tidak banyak memainkan peranan sekiranya penyelenggaraan adalah baik.

SOALAN 4: Adakah pesawat Nuri kita terlalu tua dan tidak sesuai lagi untuk latihan memandangkan komponen dan besi pesawat sudah uzur dan haus seperti didakwa sesetengah pihak?

Masih banyak varian Sikorsky S-61 yang masih digunakan di seluruh dunia termasuk juga yang digunakan oleh State Department Amerika Syarikat.  Malah ianya juga salah satu helikopter yang digunakan untuk mengangkut Presiden Amerika Syarikat.  Tentera Udara DiRaja New Zealand masih menerbangkan pesawat Hercules C-130 mereka yang sudah berumur 51 tahun. Usia pesawat bukan merupakan faktor.

SOALAN 5: Apakah sudah sampai masa Nuri digantikan bagi megelakkan insiden yang sama berlaku? Jika tidak, adakah Nuri masih lagi perlu digunakan?

Nuri adalah pesawat yang masih diperlukan.  Aset-aset Nuri TUDM juga kini diserapkan ke dalam Pasukan Udara Tentera Darat untuk tujuan “air mobility.” TUDM menggantikan pesawat Nuri bukan kerana usia atau masalah penyelenggaraan tetapi adalah kesesuaian peranan yang dimainkan oleh TUDM seperti Combat Search and Rescue, Special Forces Insertion and Extraction yang memerlukan helikopter berperanan khusus.  Pesawat Nuri juga telah melalui beberapa proses penambahbaikan kerangka dan avionics untuk menentukan ianya selaras dengan keperluan masa kini.  Ini termasuk peningkatan upaya gearbox, bilah kipas utama dan bilah kipas ekor dan pautan data digital. Malah peningkatan upaya pesawat Nuri dengan memperkenalkan “glass cockpit” atau kawalan digital sepenuhnya yang sesuai digunakan dengan teropong kegunaan malam (night-vision goggles) telah dilakukan untuk sesetengah pesawat Nuri.

Ini menunjukkan pesawat Nuri masih lagi relevan, terutama untuk tujuan pengangkutan saiz sederhana atau penghantaran platun infantri ke medan.

SOALAN 6: Apa nasihat, cadangan, pandangan Kapten kepada TUDM demi masa depan aset seperti Nuri dan keselamatan pengguna helikopter tersebut?

Kementerian Pertahanan perlu menentukan “end-user” mendapat bajet yang diperlukan untuk menentukan perolehan, pengoperasian dan penyelenggaraan aset-aset bukan sahaja TUDM, malah untuk Angkatan Tentera Malaysia amnya, dapat diteruskan dengan baik dan memenuhi doktrin Angkatan Tentera Malaysia.

Pesawat Sikorsky S-61A4 yang telah diserap oleh Pasukan Udara Tentera Darat

Pesawat Sikorsky S-61A4 yang telah diserap oleh Pasukan Udara Tentera Darat


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