Here In My Home - Malaysian Artistes For Unity

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Wah Now They Are Front Page News Eh?

How fickle minded some of our editors can be such as the one from this newspaper whose article is featured below. They have been very silent about our navy's operations in Somalia recently but all of a sudden gave the navy's efforts in the Gulf of Aden the front-page treatment only after it transpired that our naval men stationed in the area on KD Inderasakti was instrumental in rescuing one of vessels that was being hijacked by the Somalia pirates. This after they chose not to feature any news about the return of one the Navy's ship that had operated in the area for more than 92 days, with the men missing three major festivals that they could have made a human angled story from, that was replaced by the ship that they are now toasting for their rescue efforts. At least the other newspapers were consistent in their reporting like the article published here.
Saturday December 20, 2008


PETALING JAYA: Armed Somali pirates that boarded Chinese crane ship Zhenhua 4 were about to blow the bridge wide open when the Royal Malaysian Navy came to the rescue. Nine pirates ran helter-skelter without firing a single shot after there were surprised by the twin machineguns of KD Sri Inderasakti’s Fennec helicopter gunship.

The crew on the Zhenghua 4 had earlier locked themselves on the bridge and held off the pirates, which came on two skiffs, for several hours.The Fennec gunship’s response was the first time an aircraft was deployed to engage pirates holding a merchant vessel in the Gulf of Aden. RMN Fleet Operations Commander Vice-Admiral Datuk Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin said the Sri Inderasakti was in the right place and the right time in the pirate-menaced Gulf of Aden on Wednesday when it received a distress call from Zhenhua 4.

Pirates on the loose: Pirate boats (top) being seen near the Chinese ship ‘Zhenhua 4’ in the Gulf of Aden on Wednesday in this handout photo, while the Chinese vessel’s crew (right) prepare to attempt to repel boarders. — Reuters

“And the response from Sri Inderasakti’s response was swift,” he added.Relating the incident, Ahmad Kamarulzaman said that the RMN ship received the distress call from the Chinese ship at 8.30am (local time).“Commanding officer Kapt Mohamad Adib Abdul Samad immediately despatched the Fennec gunship. “At the same time, a request from the European Union’s CTF150 taskforce also came in for us to lend assistance and do whatever was necessary to deter the pirates because we were the nearest vessel to the Zhenhua 4,” he told The Star when contacted in Singapore. Covering 45 nautical miles at 80 knots per hour, the Fennec piloted by Leftenan Muliadi Mohd Noor and air quartermaster Petty Officer Haniffaa Haironi reached Zhenhua 4 in less than 15 minutes.

“After quickly assessing the situation, Haniffaa fired several warning shots across the bow of the Zhenhua 4. This created panic among the pirates,” he said.One of the pirates’ skiffs also sank in the battle but not from the Fennec’s gunfire, said Ahmad Kamarulzaman.

Not long after, Dutch warship HDMS Absalon of the European Union’s CTF150 taskforce arrived to escort the Zhenhua 4 to its destination.Ahmad Kamarulzaman said that the RMN is sure that there were other pirate vessels in the area as the gunship crew saw what they believed to be the “mother ship.”.

The Inderasakti had taken over from the KD Mahawangsa on Dec 12 in the ongoing Ops Fajar to safeguard Malaysian merchant vessels plying the dangerous Gulf of Aden.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Unheralded Until Shit Happens!

It is ironic that after my previous post, it has come to light that on the day our brave men on KD Mahawangsa came back from their deployment unheralded by the media, the naval vessel that took up their stations in the pirate infested waters of Somalia was called into action to save a Chinese merchant vessel, beating off the pirates with shots from the ship and her helicopter. Only now are our media trumpeting the effort to the public after the fact. Sadly KD Inderasakti herself could not save Malaysia's own ship that was hijacked on the same day, but with only one vessel in the area what do you expect when the so-called Naval Coalition in the area admitted themselves that they do not have enough ships to effectively cover the whole area in order to keep the ships transiting the area from harm. Anyway this incident marks the first time our naval ships has fired in anger in an international operation, and thus proves they have the will and the teeth to do harm if necessary, despite claims of cissyness by some dumb Malaysian bloggers who were disappointed that we did not go in with guns blazing when we rescued the MISC ships. We would not want to repeat the Indian Navy's gung-ho mistake of sinking the victim's ship while the pirates' got away scot free, do we? Especially when the rules of engagement are still not clear, and for those nay-sayers who wonders why we did not manage to capture the pirates themselves, this is the reason why our men did not engage to capture the pirates as your bloodthirsty hearts may have wanted. I quote below :

Enough said eh?

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Not Prime News Eh?

I am a bit chuffed because this time the return of KD Mahawangsa from Ops Fajar did not get wide reporting either by the newspapers or TV, especially my favourite TV news Buletin Utama on TV3. Maybe the media did not consider their service of safely escorting Malaysian merchant ships convoys as prime news even though to me personally this service is far more important and strategically significant to our nation's interests than the rescue of our hijacked ships and crew, and it has taken more character and fortitude for our naval men to carry these duties and tasks over the long deployment period. At least I have read in one blog how vital the convoys are for our ships to ensure their safety rather than trying to sail on their in the Gulf of Aden.

September 24th, 2008 by Marsha

Haritu Bi called.. Walaupun dapat cakap lebih 15 minit tapi rasa tak puas sangat.. Bi tengah tunggu TLDM untuk konvoi bersama lalu Teluk Aden.. Pfffftt.. Bi kata semalam nyaris kena kejar dengan lanun Somalia tu so diorg patah balik.. (Translation : That day Bi called..Even though could only talked for 15 minutes but still not so satisfied..Bi is waiting for the RMN convoy through the Gulf of Aden...PFfftt...Bi said yesterday nearly got chased by the Somalian Pirates so they turned back...)

Such personal writing is definitely more interesting than the sterile news reporting like the one below by Bernama eh, which was only picked up in parts by the New Straits Times as a news feature in their today's printed version . Meantime I am left with only photos of KD Mahawangsa's recent berthing in Oman to feature here as accompaniment to this post.

Malaysia Yet To Receive Report On Tug Boat Seizure By Somali Pirates - Rais

PUTRAJAYA, Dec 17 (Bernama) --

Confirming the pirate hijack of a Malaysian tug boat off Yemen yesterday, the National Security Council is now awaiting the latest development on the incident.Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said the council had not received any report on the hijack and was worried over the fate of the crew.He said Malaysia had reported the hijack to the United Nations and pressed the need for drastic measures to be taken against Somali pirates."The council is expecting a report either tonight or tomorrow morning," he told reporters after attending the ministry's Excellent Service Awards here.AFP reported that pirates had hijacked a Malaysian tug boat and a Turkish cargo ship yesterday, and attacked three other vessels in the Gulf of Aden in the past week.The tug boat with 11 crew on board was heading to Malaysia from West Asia.In three other incidents last week, Somali pirates attempted to hijack a Singapore tanker, an Italian cargo ship and a Greek ship.Meanwhile, Rais described the United Nations Security Council resolution to combat piracy as "powerless"."Merely announcing it is of no use, it must be followed up with physical force," he said.

In LUMUT, Acting Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) chief Vice-Admiral Datuk Mohammed Noordin Ali said that next February, the RMN would cease ongoing 'Ops Fajar' operations to protect the country's commercial vessels from pirate threats in the Gulf of Aden near Somalia.He said the decision was also agreed upon by Army chief Gen Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Zainal.Mohammed Noordin said any decision to resume operations would depend on the prime minister, defence minister and the National Security Council.He said the decision to stop the operations was mainly due to its exorbitant costs and RMN obliogations to protect the sovereignity of the national waters.Mohammed Noordin said this after receiving RMN vessel 'KD Mahawangsa' which had returned from Ops Fajar at the RMN Lumut base today.Another RMN vessel, 'KD Indera Sakti', is expected to conclude the operation in February.'Ops Fajar' was launched after Malaysian International Shipping Corporation (MISC) vessel MT Bunga Melati Dua was hijacked by Somalian pirates in the Gulf of Aden while heading to Rotterdam from Dumai, Indonesia on Aug 19.Ten days later, another MISC vessel, MT Bunga Melati Lima, with 36 crewmen, was also hijacked while crossing the same waters.Meanwhile, a Wisma Putra source identified the two ships as those of the AMD 1 cargo ship and Masindra 7 tugboat.The source said that a National Security Division meeting was held at 2.30pm today to discuss the matter.No Malaysians were involved in the incident as the crew members of both vessels were Indonesians, he said.-- BERNAMA

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Changing Of The Guards For Ops Fajar

KD Mahawangsa Escorting MISC's Eagle Valencia Through The Gulf

Despite what was reported in my earlier blog posting, one defence website has reported that Ops Fajar shall continue even after the return of KD Mahawangsa after more than 92 days of deployment in the Gulf of Aden, successfully escorting more than 36 merchant vessels through the treacherous waters. It is reported that KD Mahawangsa is scheduled to arrive home on 17 December 2008 and is set to be replaced by the KD Inderasakti. It was reported that KD Inderasakti set sail on 1st December 2008 with 204 crew on board together with a seven member army medical team. She will operate in the Gulf for three months until February 2009 as part of the Government's committment to the maintenance of the nation's merchant security while sailing through the Gulf of Aden.

KD Mahawangsa Leading Her Convoy Through The Gulf

In the meantime, KD Mahawangsa has safely escorted the largest tanker in MISC's fleet through the Gulf, the Eagle Valencia that is 333.2 meters long, 66 meters high and 58 meters wide with a deck area equivalent to almost 3 football that has similar dimensions to the the oil tanker that was hijacked by pirates, the Sirius Star. This despite the size of KD Mahawangsa that is quite insignificant to the tonnage of the Eagle Valencia while escorting the convoy she is in, while the photo of the Super Lynx on her deck gives an indication of how large the deck is when even compared to an aircraft carrier in these photos handed out by the Malaysian Navy Fleet Command Public Relations Department. Until KD Mahawangsa arrives home to a grand welcome, all we can do is wish her Bon Voyage while to the crewmen of the KD Inderasakti, we wish them a good and safe deployment in the best traditions of the Navy.

A Super Lynx On Eagle Valencia's Deck Indicating Her Size

Sunday, 7 December 2008

KD RAJAWALI – RMN’s Home Of Naval Air Aviation

The Royal Malaysian Navy had embarked onto the field of naval aviation more than twenty years ago on 27 April 1988 when the nucleus team of the RMN air wing was incorporated with the purchase of six used WASP HAS Mk 1 helicopters and spares from the Royal Navy, operating from a site at Naval Bouestead Dockyard at the Lumut Naval Base. Starting with a dream in 1984 when a group of eleven naval officers received flight training at the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s PULATIBANG Johor, the acquisition of the helicopters paved the way for the Navy’s ambition to have an air unit to provide force multipliers to the Navy‘s fleet while opening up new capabilities for the RMN in multidimensional maritime warfare. The force multiplication embraces over the horizon operations, faster and more effective search and rescue, Special Forces operations, electronic intelligence and monitoring, anti submarine warfare and as a platform for missiles and torpedoes amongst others. This is in addition to increasing the capability of monitoring the nation’s maritime waters from the air as the air wing provides aerial surveillance over a larger area than that can be provided by surface ships only. Finally on 11 May 1990, KD Rajawali was commissioned as the first Naval Air Station of the Naval Air Wing. In its early years, the air wing was assisted and supervised by Royal Navy loan service personnel and the Royal Malaysian Air Force but despite many parties doubting the capabilities of RMN’s own personnel to handle and service their own air wing; by 1994 KD Rajawali became independent and was fully managed by RMN’s own personnel.

These early beginnings was part of a long term strategic measure for the RMN as it allowed the Air Wing to learn and deepen their knowledge in the various aspects of helicopter operations in maritime warfare scenarios including logistic support. Such operational experience is not only limited to the people of KD Rajawali but is also shared with the navy’s fleet personnel when the Navy trains their pilots and air engineering team to carry out various maritime operations with the fleet’s ships. This is because the role of KD Rajawali is primarily to meet the aviation support for the surface fleet of the Navy, in times of peace and war. These roles include reconnaissance, search and rescue, oil spill detection, trans-border criminal activities interventions and oil platform and EEZ protection. Vast emphasis therefore is placed on training of personnel, enhancing flying skills and expanding the air wing so that it will not only be able to operate rotary aircraft currently but fixed wing maritime patrol aircraft in the future. With the entry of such aircraft and training of its personnel in advance flying and weaponry, KD Rajawali is geared to meet the many challenges ahead as the Fleet Air Arm of the Navy. What is unique about the Air Wing is that with the procurement of twelve new highly sophisticated naval helicopters; the RMN now owns the most modern and capable combat helicopter fleet than the other branches of the Armed Forces.

499 Squadron Wasp

The nucleus team that was given the responsibility to operate the Navy’s first helicopters was given the designation of 499 Squadron. The used Wasp HAS Mk1 was designed for short range quick action to hunt for warships or submarines and had unique attributes for maritime use including night operations. Even though the more than thirty year old helicopter was not equipped with modern and sophisticated equipment, its effectiveness was proven during the Falklands War. The Wasp helicopter was operated by two aviators and could carry three passengers and a payload of 635 kilograms, including up to 235 kilograms external stores and two lightweight torpedoes. With its Rolls Royce Nimbus engine the helicopter could sprint at a speed of 90 knots. The Wasp could be armed with torpedoes and anti-ship missiles. Until they were decommissioned on 21 December 2001, a total of twelve units were operated by the Navy for a duration of eleven years. During the period, the pioneer squadron’s service record of ten thousand accident free flight hours and more than five thousand deck landings, mostly on RMN’s ships. Despite this, the Wasps services had to be stopped as the aging helicopters operational cost were increasing making no longer economical to operate. This was compounded by the difficulty in obtaining spares parts as the type was no longer operated by other navies, resulting in parts cannibalisation from unserviceable units. The decommissioning of the helicopters was also in line with the modernisation of the navy with more sophisticated and highly capable equipment as the squadron paved the way to the establishment of two new squadrons of modern helicopters. Even though the capabilities of the Wasp were limited, it still allowed the RMN to gain experience in operating an air squadron. Nonetheless 499 Squadron still remains and now plays the role of ground support services and logistics squadron to KD Rajawali.

Crew : 2 Flight Crew plus three passengers in cabin
Radar and Sensors : STR 40 Radar
Hand Held Warning Receiver-ARI 23241/1
IFF PTR446-ARI 3970
Empty Weight : 1,566 kg
Flight Weight : 2,495 kg maximum
Engine : 1 x Rolls Royce Nimbus Mk 103
Maximum Speed : 90 knots
Flight Hours : 2 hours 20 minutes

501 Squadron Super Lynx – Tangkas & Berbisa

In line with the modernisation and development of the Navy and the necessity of to replace the Wasp helicopters, six Super Lynx 300 Mk 100s from Agusta Westland were purchased to provide a new dimension to the operational and combat capabilities of the Royal Malaysian Navy in carrying out conventional naval warfare. This acquisition gave a clear leap to the Navy’s air unit capabilities that was previously restricted to the short range Wasp for patrol and surveillance. With the Super Lynx, the squadron now acts as the combat squadron for the air unit responsible for critical missions and contributes directly to multiplying the Navy’s firepower to destroy the enemy. The main task of this squadron can be divided into four main missions; Anti Surface Warfare (ASuW), Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW), surface surveillance and Over The Horizon Targeting (OTHT) in addition to their multitude of secondary missions. Two features that make the Super Lynx as a combat and mobility force multiplier is that it carries the latest avionics suite and weaponry. As the most capable helicopter unit in the Navy in terms of firepower, the helicopters are armed with four types of weaponry. These are Sea Skua Anti Ship missiles, A244S torpedoes, a .50 calibre M3M heavy machine gun system and TG2 teleguidance system. As an aircraft that is operating in a challenging maritime environment, the Super Lynx are well equipped with sophisticated radar systems, sensors and electronic support systems including radar warning receivers. The range of both the semi-active radar-guided Sea Skua missile and the Seaspray radar is approximately 25km, which gives a stand-off capability to the helicopter. These are new capabilities for the Navy to operate with an edge in a conventional maritime warfare environment. The Super Lynxes also allows special operations with the Navy’s PASKAL Special Forces as an insertion and extraction vehicle, and as a platform for sharpshooters or provision of suppression fire from the heavy machinegun. The Super Lynx helicopters are organic to the Lekiu class frigates but will also operate from other vessels with helicopter facilities like the Kedah class patrol vessels. The 501 Squadron officially became operational on 1 March 2004 but was subsequently commissioned simultaneously with the 502 Squadron on 9 August 2004.
Crew : 2 Flight Crew plus 7 Passengers in cabin
Weapons : Sea Skua Anti Ship Missile
A244/S Torpedoes
0.5 Cal M3M HMG
Radar and Sensors : Seaspray 3600 radar
Sea Owl Thermal Imager
Sky Guardian 2500 ESM
Teleguidance Mk2 (TG2)
Empty Weight : 3,645 kg
Flight Weight : 5,330 kg maximum
Engine : 2 x LHTEC CTS800-4N
Maximum Speed : 168 knots
Flight Hours : 2 hours 20 minutes

502 Squadron Fennec – Agile Et Fute

While awaiting the delivery of the Super Lynx helicopters, the RMN leased two units of AS355 F2 Ecureuil so that KD Rajawali can continue operations after the Wasp helicopters were decommissioned. So it was no surprise that during LIMA 2001, an agreement to purchase six units of the naval version AS355 SN Fennec was signed and the 502 Squadron officially became operational on 28 April 2004. Specifically the primary role of the squadron is to act as a training platform where the Fennec acts as the Lead In Trainer for the Navy’s aircrew and technicians. The Fennec is also the secondary aircraft for the Navy’s maritime combat operations in support of the Super Lynxes. Thus the helicopter’s supporting roles are surface surveillance, naval gun fire support, reconnaissance and search and rescue in addition to general duties. The Fennec can also assist navy divers in mine clearing operations by using the hover jump technique where the mine clearance dive team will make a direct dive into the sea from the helicopter. It is also tasked to support the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency for littoral operations and enforcement. Unlike the Super Lynx, the Fennec is not armed with heavy weapons and is only equipped with a door mounted MAG 58M 7.62mm machinegun. Since the Fennec’s duties are littoral focused, she is equipped with a 240 kg load winch on the port side and a 30 million candela powered search light for night operations. The Fennecs are supposed to be organically detached to the Kedah class patrol vessels while for operations support, they will be short termed deployed on any ship that has a helideck and flight facilities.

Crew : 3 Flight Crew plus 3 Passengers in cabin
Weapons : MAG 58M 7.62mm GPMG
Radar and Sensors : Bendix 1500B radar
Fruit 99 EWR
Raytheon APX 100 IFF
Empty Weight : 1,890 kg
Flight Weight : 2,600 kg maximum
Engine : 2 x Turbomecca Arius 1A
Maximum Speed : 150 knots
Maximum Flight Hours : 3 hours 20 minutes