Malaysia Builds 6 WPC w/sUAS, 3 Cutter X, and Gets 2 JCG cutters

Malaysia‘s counterpart of the USCG, the Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), or APMM in Malay, was formed in 2005 and has approximately 7,000 members.

Malaysia has an EEZ of 334,671 sq km, or about 3% of that of the US. In addition they have a substantial continental shelf of about the same size. The country itself is in two main parts, one on the Malay Peninsula and one part on the island of Barneo. It borders the busiest waterway in the world, the Straits of Malacca.

They have recently begun to replace the vessels incorporated in the service when the agency was formed.

The first new class is the “New Generation Patrol Craft.”

Malaysia's New Generation Patrol Craft.

Malaysia’s New Generation Patrol Craft (NGPC)

It is in many ways similar to the Webber class in size and function. It is a FASSMER design. It is a little smaller (44.5 meters or 146 feet) and a little slower at 24 knots, but it is a bit better armed, having a 30mm gun and it has one trick we do not. It will have a small Unmanned Air System and associated launch and recovery system.

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency has selected to the Fulmar UAV to equip their NGPC. The Fulmar is similar in most respects to the ScanEagle.

Aerovision Fulmar UAV, 5 May 2008, by Txema1

Aerovision Fulmar UAV, 5 May 2008, by Txema1

MalaysianDefence reports they expect to build three Offshore Patrol Vessels, at least 80 meters in length.  The RM740 Million reported allocated equates to about $167M each .

Reportedly the new OPVs will be a version of the Damen 1800 (ton) design (similar to those being built for South Africa, but with a conventional bow) 83 meters (272 feet) in length and 22 knots from 4×2350 kW diesels providing 12,600 HP.

Damen 1800 OPV, from the rear.

Damen OPV 1800 Concept Illustration

As part of their effort to build capacity among their neighbors, the Japanese are transfering two Japan Coast Guard cutters to the MMEA. The first of these, Erimo (PL-02) is, by USCG standards, still young, having entered service in 1991. She is 91.4 meters in length over all, 2,006 tons full load and capable of 20 knots with a crew of 38. The second ship wll be of the same class.

Japan CG Cutter Erimo (PL-02)

Japan CG Cutter Erimo (PL-02)



Technical Difficulties

The blog has encountered some techical difficulties recently. At least in some cases photos have overlapped the text.

I have informed tech support at WordPress and hopefully a fix is in the works.

As a bandaid solution, I am adding a few extra line spaces below any photo in hopes of showing all the text.

Navy Bases MQ-4C in Mayport–LE Role?

NavyRecognition reports that high flying, fast, long endurance Triton MQ-4C Navy intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance data collection drones are being based at Mayport, FL.

Detachments will rotate to distant theaters, but they will of course fly missions out of Mayport if only to maintain proficiency. Hopefully we will see these used to support Coast Guard interdiction missions.

South Africa to Build Damen Design Offshore and Inshore Patrol Vessels

Damen 85 meter Offshore Patrol Vessel, 1800

Damen 85 meter Offshore Patrol Vessel, 1800

Naval today reports, 

On February 15, Armscor (the acquisition agency for the South African Department of Defence–Chuck) announced Damen Shipyards Cape Town as the preferred bidder for the construction of offshore and inshore patrol boats…”

Reportedly the project includes three Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) and three Inshore Patrol Boats (IPBs) for the South African Navy.

The OPVs will be Damen’s Offshore Patrol Vessel 1800 Sea Axe, illustrated above, 85 meters in length, with a beam of 13.7 meters, and a speed of 26 knots.

The IPBs will be Damen’s FCS (STAN PATROL) 5009 design, illustrated below, which is also used by the Ecuadorian and Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guards. These are 50.2 meters (165 ft) in length, 9.32 meters (30.6 ft) of beam. The South African vessels are expected to make 30 knots. An unusual feature (aside from the bow) is the use of four propellers.

I talked to someone who has ridden on a 5009 patrol vessel and he reported that it did indeed significantly reduce pitching. The tradeoff was that it was very wet forward. This should not be surprising since the design minimizes the rise of the bow when it encounters a wave.  You can see that they have attempted to counter this tendency by making the bow high and providing high bulwarks.

On the second page of this description of the design you will see a diagram of the ship which indicates that it can be fitted with up to three boats and a twin 40mm mount.

The long and slender Sea Axe hull offers exceptionally low resistance, delivering excellent fuel efficiency at all speeds


UAE’s New, and very well Armed OPV

UAE offshore patrol vessel Arialah

UAE offshore patrol vessel Arialah (note the concept above is incorrect in that the gun is a BAE 57mm rather than the 76mm illustrated).

DefenseNews reports first impressions of a new Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) built for UAE’s Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Agency (CICPA) shown at the NAVDEX (naval) portion of the IDEX international Defense Exposition in Abu Dhabi.

The ships are 67 meters (220 feet) in length, 11 meters (36 feet) of beam, and 5.4 meters (18 feet) of draft, with a speed of 20+ knots provided by four MTU engines driving four propellers.

Most of the armament is typical OPV, a 57 mm gun and two 30mm auto-cannon in remote weapon stations. What really sets it apart, is the Mk49 Rolling Airframe Missile launcher.

On the other hand, the UAE is just across the Straits of Hormuz from Iran and their shore based anti-ship cruise missiles.

Photo: Mk49 guided missile launch system for Rolling Airframe Missile

An earlier post provides a bit more detail on the program but it appears to have a couple of errors regarding the weapon systems (indicates a 76mm as seen in the first illustration vice 57mm and says the Mk49 launcher has 11 cells rather than the actual 21). There are to be two of this class, both to be delivered this year.

“The ships themselves will be delivered from Damen’s Galati shipyard in Romania in 2017; they will then go to ADSB’s facility in Abu Dhabi’s Mussafah industrial area for combat systems installation and integration prior to delivery to the CICPA.”

This looks like a straight forward adaptation of one of Damen’s designs for Offshore Industry Support Vessels with boats, helo deck, ESM/ECM, weapons and sensors added.

According to this older source, the Coast Guard was involved in the development of the SEA AXE Bow.

“Damen … has developed the sea axe bow design in partnership with the University of Delft, Royal Netherlands Navy, US Coast Guard and the Maritime Research Institute Netherlands.”

An Appreciation of Merchant Fleets

Top ten nations in value of their shipping from

Top ten nations in value of their shipping from

Marine Link brings us the graphic above. It does not come with explanation, but I presume this is “owned” rather than “flagged.” Otherwise I don’t think the US would be #4.

There are a couple of take-aways here:

  1. The overall tonnage has grown immensely, and
  2. The individual ships are far larger than they used to be.

For comparison the size of Japan’s not inconsiderable merchant marine in 1941, at the beginning of WWII was about 6 million tons. The fleets of Japan and China (#2 and #3 in value) are about 25 times larger.

During World War II the average merchant ship was roughly 5,000 tons. 10,000 tons was a big ship. The average Japanese ship is about 35,000 tons and the average Chinese ship is about 32,000. That is the new medium size. The US average is only a little over 23,000 tons. The new large size is larger than a USN nuclear powered carrier.

Something that does not show is that the crews are now much smaller.

Lets talk about the implications.

30mm “Swimmer” Round

30x173mm ammunition for Mk44 Bushmaster II

30x173mm ammunition for Mk44 Bushmaster II

Ran across an interesting new type of ammunition, the 30 mm Mk 258 mod 1 APFSDS-T, which appears to be designed specifically to counter Fast Inshore Attack Craft (FIAC). It uses a unique configuration to allow it to maintain high velocity after entering the water. Being an armor-piercing, fin stabilized, discarding sabot, tracer round, I suspect it might help us attack the engine rooms of larger ships. if we upgrade our Mk38 gun mounts to use the 30mm. Might be able to disable propellers and rudders as well.

In a test “…it destroyed a representative FIAC target travelling at 30kts at a range of 4.8km with the first shot.”

It would probably be good against radio controlled boats like the one in the recent attack off Yemen. General Dynamics is advertising that this “swimmer version” is currently available. This might explain why the Navy replaced the 57mm on the DDG-1000 class will 30mm guns. 

There is a bit more in the 2014 NAMMO Bulletin, on page 8 (5/13 on the pdf), under the title “The Navy’s Best Ammunition”;

The nose-shaped configuration was originally patented by the U.S. Navy and NSWC Dahlgren, but was never turned into functional ammunition. Nammo, NSWC Dahlgren and FFI (Norwegian Defense Research Establishment) carried out a comprehensive study that resulted in the final design configuration of the penetrator nose. Today, Nammo’s Mk258 mod 1 ammunition is used on board the LPD-17 and LCS class of U.S. Navy ships. This has significantly increased the fleet’s capability to defeat aerial and surface threats, as well as submerged threats like torpedoes and mines.

At the very least the 110s in Bahrain (or their Webber class replacements–whenever?) probably should have these. I’d like to see them on all the Webber Class WPCs.