In October 2010, Malaysia’s Boustead received a letter of intent from their government for 6 “second-generation patrol vessels.” In January 2012, South Africa’s DefenceWeb reported that DCNS and its local submarine & surface ship partner, Boustead Naval Shipyard, had been picked for a $2.8 billion program to supply 6 Gowind family ships to Malaysia, which would have been the type’s 1st paid order.
To win, DCNS reportedly beat Dutch firm Damen, whose scalable SIGMA ships have been purchased by neighboring Indonesia; as well as TKMS of Germany, who supplied Malaysia’s 6 existing MEKO 100 Kedah Class Offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) and its 2 Kasturi Class light frigates. Now these Gowind ships’ exact configuration, and equipment set is more certain – and they have grown into full frigates.
The Gowind Family & Malaysia’s Choices
The Gowind family isn’t a single design. It’s a family of ships with some common systems and design elements, designed to scale from inshore patrol needs to heavy corvette/ light frigate designs. DCNS has been exploring partnerships with lower-cost foreign shipyards as part of its overall export strategy, and had been negotiating with Bulgaria along those lines. Memoranda now give it footholds in South Africa as well as Malaysia.
All Gowind ships are shaped for stealth. The single central mast replaces several sensor masts in other ships, and provides both improved radar cross-section signature, and a 360-degree view for radars and other sensors. The ship’s propulsion system is based on Combined Diesel and Diesel (CODAD), but has no gas exhaust chimney to emit infrared plumes, channeling exhaust into the water-jets instead. Those water jets also create better maneuverability in shallow waters, and contribute to high-speed performance.
Gowind Control/120 Designs like FS L’Adroit, on loan to France for 3 years as a promotional exercise, are 1,100t OPVs, with minimal armament. L’Adroit carries only a light autocannon and non-lethal weapons, for instance. Gowind Presence inshore patrol vessels are even smaller.
On the other hand, Bulgaria’s interest in Gowind ships involved fully-armed 2,250t Gowind Combat/200 corvettes, carrying 57mm guns, vertical-launch cells, anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles, and a helicopter up to the 10-ton class.
Subsequent reports from Navy Recognition indicated that Malaysia is interested in the Gowind Combat corvettes, and current plans involve launching the 1st Second Generation Patrol Vessel Littoral Combat Ship (SGPV-LCS) in 2018. Provisional specifications appear to make them the size of small frigates, only slightly smaller than the USA’s Littoral Combat Ship:
Length: 111 meters (up from 107)
Breadth: 16 meters
Full load displacement: about 3,000 tonnes (up from 2,730)
Max speed: 28 knots
Crew: Up to 138: 60 Junior sailors, 20 Petty Officers, 6 warrant Officers, 1 executive officer, 5 heads of departments, and the Captain.
Range: 5,000 nm
Endurance: 21 days
The ship models shown at a recent defense exhibition show a full helicopter hangar, and Boustead Heavy Industry Corporation has said that it will be capable of embarking helicopters up to the size the RMAF’s 12 ordered EC725 Caracal search and rescue/ special forces helicopters. Malaysia’s Navy could also choose to embark any of its 6 AgustaWestland Super Lynx 300 naval helicopters, or 6 Eurocopter AS 350 Fennec light utility helicopters.
* DCNS’ preference for its SETIS combat system won the day, over the Malaysian Navy’s reported preference for Thales’ Tacticos.
* Thales SMART-S Mk2 3D multibeam radar
* Rheinmetall’s TMEO Mk2 – TMX/EO Radar/ Electro-optical tracking and fire control system
* Thales Captas family for hull sonar
* ASW suite with towed array sonar
Pictures from DSA 2012 Defense exhibition in Kuala Lumpur appear to show 12 vertical launch cells, mounted behind the main gun. These will be DCNS’ Sylver family. Sylver A35 cells are the most likely choice, given the ship’s size and expected weapon fit:
* BAE’s 57mm Mk.3 naval gun will be provided in a stealth cupola, courtesy of the BHIC Bofors Asia Sdn Bhd joint venture. Confirmed in 2013.
* MBDA VL-MICA air defense missiles and their ACL containers in the Sylver cells
* 8 of MBDA’s MM40 Exocet Block III anti-ship missiles mounted topside
* 2 of MSI’s remotely operated 30mm guns on top of the helicopter hanger
Contracts & Key Events
Infrastructure and components.
Oct 27/14: DCNS finally confirms the existence of Gowind 2500 contracts with Malaysia and Egypt, but it’s just a short Twitter post from EuroNaval. Defense-Aerospace has a more in-depth report, which values the 2 deals at EUR 1.5 billion to DCNS for 10 ships. It adds:
“BNS was awarded the $2.8 billion contract in 2011, but it only went into effect on July 14, 2014 after completion of a major upgrade of the Lumut shipyard.”
Construction of the lead ship is to start in March 2015, with delivery tentatively planned for 2019. Sources: DCNS, Twitter post | Defense-Aerospace, “DCNS Confirms Sale of 10 Gowind Corvettes, Expects More”.
Sept 17/14: Torpedo launchers. UK engineering firm J+S Ltd announces that they have been selected to provide their Torpedo Launcher System (TLS) to equip the SGPV-LCS. Deliveries are planned between 2017 and 2021. Andy Toms from J+S says they will source some products and services locally, since Malaysia is one of many countries fond of offsets. In June the firm had opened an office in Kuala Lumpur to serve the ASEAN region. Source: North Devon Journal: “Torpedo launchers to be supplied to Malaysian navy by Barnstaple company”.
April 25/14: Infrastructure. Navy Recognition reports from the 2014 Defence Services Asia Exhibition and Conference in Kuala Lumpur. The 1st ship won’t be floated out until December of 2018, because BHIC’s Lumut shipyard needs a lot of work first, with assistance from DCNS: ship lifts, 2 new block assembly halls, 3 new halls for panel assembly, and 3 keel lines. Three ships in parallel construction is quite a few for a 6-ship program; Malaysia appears to have wider ambitions for Lumut.
An accompanying shore integration facility for combat system work and training is being built at the government-planned city of Cyberjaya, south of Kuala Lumpur. The combat system will be assembled there and some of the training will also be provided at this location.
Kelvin Hughes of UK has been picked to deliver the SGPV’s navigation radar, and the decoy launcher has been picked but not announced. Sources: Navy Recognition, “DSA 2014 Naval News – RMN Gowind SGPV-LCS update with BHIC”.
Feb 18/14: Sensors. Thales announces that it has signed a Letter of Award with Contraves Advanced Devices Sdn. Bhd. to supply 6 SMART-S Mk2 naval surveillance radar systems, as well as 6 CAPTAS-2 towed sonar systems for the Royal Malaysian Navy’s SGPV-LCS ships. The 1st SMART-S Mk2 is expected to be delivered “within the next few years”. The first 2 will be built by Thales in Hengelo, The Netherlands, then the other 4 systems will be assembled and tested by Contraves in Malaysia.
The release refers to “the Malaysian Littoral Combat Ships that are currently being built by Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd in Malaysia,” which implies that there’s a contract in place despite the lack of publicity. On the other hand, there seem to be a lot of critical equipment choices that haven’t been made yet, and budget documents seem to suggest that the main build contract hash’t been issued. Sources: Thales, “Thales On Board The Littoral Combat Ships Of The Royal Malaysian Navy”.
2012 – 2013
click for video
Oct 25/13: Budgets. Malaysian Defence:
“When Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak unveiled the 2014 Budget – a total of RM264.2 billion (RM217.7 billion is for operating expenditure while RM46.5 billion is for development expenditure) he did just that – increased the management expenditure and reduced the development allocation!
For 2014, the Defence Ministry got RM16.1 billion – RM13.355 billion as operating expenditure (OE) and RM2.745 billion for development costs (DE)- some RM849 million higher compared to the budget in 2013 which was RM15.251 (RM11.970 billion for operating costs and RM3.281 billion for development.
This means the development expenditure for 2014 has been reduced by RM536 million. The OE which pays for everything from salaries to fuel, parts and maintenance got a whopping increase by RM1.385 billion.”
The budget is typically non-specific about equipment, though the minister did mention “the purchase of six offshore patrol vessels” as part of the plan. Sources: Malaysian Defence, “Malaysia’s 2014 Defence Budget”.
April 16/13: Weapons. Navy Recognition reports from Malaysia’s Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA 2013) exhibition that BAE has signed a Letter of Award to equip Malaysia’s Gowind ships with their 57mm Mk.3 naval gun, including a stealth cupola housing. Sweden’s Visby Class corvettes already use this combination, but BAE will need to modify the Mk.3 housing slightly, in order to blend better with the Gowind’s exact shaping.
Meanwhile Boustead Heavy Industry Corporation (BHIC) Director of Defence & Security Division director Anuar Murad says that they’re still working on the Letter of Award with the Ministry of Defense for the overall ship, which he refers to as a full frigate that has grown to 3,000t. The ships will be built entirely in Malaysia, and even the combat system will be assembled in Cyberjaya. DCNS will act as Design Authority, and services have been bought for basic design work in France, with Malaysian engineers working alongside them in France to finalize the design. DCNS will also provide advisory services around project management and combat system integration.
Secondary suppliers are already receiving contracts from BHIC, and first-of-class delivery is estimated as 2018-2019, depending on how quickly they can get a contract signed.
Jan 21/13: Sensors. Malaysia buys 12 TMX/EO Mk2 fire control radars and 6 TMEO Mk2 long-range electro-optical surveillance systems for Malaysia’s 6 new “Second Generation Patrol Vessels Littoral Combat Ship” (SGPV LCS) frigates. The order includes spare parts, training, and a transfer of know-how to local industry. Deliveries will begin in in 2015 and continue through to 2020.
The TMX/EO Mk2 is a compact topside X-band or Ku-band radar, and a scalable electro-optical sensor fit (including IR camera, TV camera and laser rangefinder). The radar is able to track steeply attacking targets, even in very rough seas, using a “third axis” approach to rotation. Rheinmetall Defence | Navy Recognition.
Oct 25/12: A report from Euronaval says the contracts remain unfinalized, though DCNS CEO Patrick Boissier tells Lignes de defense that the existing Letters of Attribution have value even so. The project is expected to take place over 10 years or so, with a number of arrangements to finalize for production in Malaysia and in France. Lignes de defense [in French].
Oct 4/12: Weapons. Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNS) has reportedly issued a letter of award to BHIC subsidiary Contraves Advanced Devices Sdn Bhd (CAD) for DCNS’ SETIS Combat Management System. The LOA reportedly covers an implementation period of up to 10 years from Oct 2/12.
The contract is described as being “in relation to the RM203.79 million contract for RMN’s Second Generation Patrol Vessels (SGPV) or Littoral Combat Ships(LCS),” but that’s only $62 million, so it can’t be a main contract. The amount is more likely to represent to cost of the SETIS systems plus 10 years of support. Sources, Malaysian Flying Herald, “SETIS System for RMN’s SGPV/LCS”.
June 24/13: Sub-contractors. OSI Maritime Systems (OSI) announces a Letter of Award from Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS), Mallaysia, to deliver 6 Integrated Navigation and Tactical Systemss (INTS), including the ECPINS-W and Warship-AIS, for the SGPV/LCS. Sources: OSI, “OSI Maritime Systems Signs Warshhip Integrated Bridge System Contract with Bousteaad Naval Shipyard for Royal Malaysian Navy LCS Program”.
April 20/12: Navy Recognition personnel at the DSA 2012 Defense exhibition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia look at a Gowind model, and talk to an official from Boustead about the ships’ expected statistics and fit-out. See above for the ships’ expected fit-out, and see the article for pictures of the model.
Jan 17/12: DefenceWeb reports Malaysia’s selection of DCNS’ Gowind ships for a $2.8 billion contract. Deliveries are expected to run from 2017-2020, if all goes well.
Subsequent reports indicate that Gowind beat TKMS’ MEKO A100 and Damen’s SIGMA Class.
The DefenceWeb report is very unclear concerning the exact type and fit-out for these ships, except to state that the shipbuilders wanted DCNS’ SETIS combat management system, while the Royal Malaysian Navy wants the Thales Tacticos systems already on one of Malaysia’s Kasturi Class light frigates. It did not state how this conflict was resolved.
Malaysia picks Gowind