Friday, February 11, 2011

Increased Capability for New Malaysian Frigates

The second batch of MEKO-A100 class ships being built for the Malaysian Navy will have greatly increased combat capabilities compared with the first group of six ships. They will be equipped with improved command and control systems, advanced electronic warfare capabilities, a three-dimensional radar, surface and air warfare missiles, and a torpedo defense system. As a result of this added capability, the ships will be classed as Littoral Combat Ships rather than offshore patrol vessels.

News of the added capabilities was released in response to accusations by Malaysian Member of Parliament Tony Pua that the six new ships would cost 870 percent more than equivalents purchased by other countries. He arrived at that figure by comparing the MYR6 billion ($1,975 million) cost of the six new ships with the MYR211 million ($69.5 million) per ship paid by New Zealand for its OPVs. However, his figures do not add up. The Malaysian Navy will be paying roughly $330 million per ship for its new acquisitions. While this is a bit less than five times the cost paid by New Zealand, the ships are dramatically different in power and capability.

The six new Malaysian Littoral Combat Ships will be built by Boustead Naval Shipyard and funded under the 10th and 11th five-year Malaysian plans.

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