Saturday, 31 January 2009
Thursday, 29 January 2009
Malaysia has taken formal delivery of its first submarine KD Tunku Abdul Rahman at the French naval base in Toulon, on Saturday. This major milestone for the RMN follows the completion, in late December 2008, of KD Tunku Abdul Rahman's final sea trials demonstrating remarkable operational and combat system capabilities. These trials included successful firings of Black Shark heavyweight torpedoes and missiles.KD Tunku Abdul Rahman is scheduled to arrive at the Sepanggar naval base in July this year. The second of the series, KD Tun Razak, is scheduled for delivery in late 2009.
Monday, 26 January 2009
HMS Malaya was one of five great fifteen inch gun, oil burning super dreadnoughts of the 1912 Queen Elizabeth class and was named after the British colony that paid to build her at a cost of almost three million Sterling Pounds. This division of large, fast, heavily armoured ships, powered by oil and carrying heavier guns than on any previous dreadnought, played a decisive role in the Battle of Jutland, the apex battle between the Royal Navy and the Imperial German Navy in World War I. The dominant naval weapon of the era was the great gun: the long barrelled naval cannon that fired a heavy shell down a rifled tube, lofting the spiralling projectile thousands of yards to plunge onto an enemy ship, piercing and penetrating heavy armour to burst inside turrets or hull, spreading fire, devastation, chaos and death. The new ships could deliver a knockout punch with their large guns; it remained to provide them with armour and speed. In these ships there was no skimping in armour; key areas such as the waterline and turrets were covered by thirteen and a half inches of solid steel. These ships could now deliver and take a punch but speed was wanted as the standard twenty one knots of a British dreadnought was not sufficient to overtake a fleeing enemy and bring them to battle. Armour would not be sacrificed for speed and the solution is oil fuel as it burns more fiercely than coal and gives more heat and steam created under more pressure drove the shafts and turned the propellers quicker thus achieving speeds of 26 knots. Immeasurably superior to any earlier battleship, they continued to form the backbone of British naval strength well into the Second World War. And HMS Malaya was present at the surrender of the German High Seas Fleet as a reminder that Malaya as one of the Dominion states had made her contribution to the war at sea. In World War II she served in the Mediterranean in 1940, escorting convoys and operating against the Italian fleet. Latterly she served escorted convoys in the Atlantic and from the UK to Malta and Cape Town until summer 1943. Malaya was withdrawn from service at the end of 1944 and placed in reserve and served as an accommodation ship. Sold on 20 February 1948 to Metal Industries, she arrived at Faslane on 12 April 1948 for scrapping.
The name Malaya was again resurrected after the war when the name was given to a LCT Mk3 that was inducted into service into the Malayan Naval Force on 18 April 1949, after conversion into a training and accommodation ship before entering service to serve as a training ship as the MS Malaya. The name was later transferred to an operational and training base built at Woodlands Singapore that was known as the HMMS Malaya in 1952 and was transferred to the newly independent Malaya in 1958 until being renamed as Kapal Diraja Malaya in 1961 after the navy dropped the old HMMS as a relic of colonialism. In 1984, KD Malaya that was serving as a support unit finally moved from Singapore to Lumut. Now serving as Fleet Headquarters, KD Malaya is still expected to be in the thick of action when the situation heats up even though she is now a stone frigate rather than a fire breathing combat ship that was her namesake, and therefore will carry on the fighting traditions as befitting the name.
Sunday, 25 January 2009
Although on a personal basis I find the plan for turning part of the ship into a boutique hotel and bistro incomprehensible and abhorrent for the status of such a ship, I guess this is the commercial revenue pay-off to be given to the private company that is investing in the project. I do hope however that Rahmat the museum ship itself will emphasise the contributions that she has made for the more than thirty years that she has been in service to the nation, and underline the fact that she is the first Frigate that was purpose built and designed to Malaysian needs, and the result was so good she inspired frigate derivatives used by other navies including Thailand. She was also the first ship to be fitted with surface to air missile system, making the RMN the first navy in the region to be so-equipped. I re-produce herewith her specifications and I hope you enjoy some of her early pictures to boot.
A Yarrow Mark 1 frigate, Rahmat was the first major purpose-built warship for the Royal Malaysian Navy. She was laid down in 1966 and was originally called the KD Hang Jebat. However her name was later changed to Rahmat due to superstitious reasons after she had a run of unfortunate events in the 1970's. At the time of delivery, Rahmat was a capable ship by the standards then prevalent in South East Asia (SEA), with a high level of automation and a design emphasis on simplicity that reduced manning requirements. She was initially delivered in 1972 with a quadruple Sea Cat Surface to Air Missile(SAM) launcher, therefore making the Royal Malaysian Navy one of the first navies to be SAM-equipped in SEA. The third Bofors 40mm then replaced the outdated launcher in 1983 during a modernisation re-fit where the director was also removed, thereby altering her original appearance. On board, there is also a provision for the embarkation of a helicopter with the incorporation of a McGregor hatch over the well deck. Originally configured as an ASW frigate, she was used as the navy's second training vessel in the same squadron as KD Tuah. Decommissioned in 2004, she is now playing a role as a static training ship while awaiting conversion to a museum ship.
Dimensions: 93.9m x 10.4m x 4.5m
Guns: 1 x 114mm/45 Vickers Mk 5 DP, 3x 40mm/70 Bofors. (Range : Main 19 Km/12.5 Km, Aux : 12 Km/4 Km)
ASW: 1 x Mk10 Limbo Mortar (3 tubes) (Range : 900 metres)
Electronics: Sewaco-MA combat data system, Signaal LW.02, Decca 626, Kelvin Hughes MS32 Radars, One radar for the WM22 gun fire-control system, Graseby Type 174 and Type 170B sonars, ESM system with UA-3 warning and FH-4 jamming elements, 2 UK Mk1 rail chaff launchers, Link Y
Propulsion: Rolls Royce Olympus TM1B gas turbine at 20626hp or Crossley/SEMT-Pielstick SPC2V diesel at 4000hp to two shafts, controllable pitch propellers
Speed: 26 knots, range 9656 Km at 16 knots
Aircraft: Platform Aft
KD Rahmat In 1970
KD Rahmat in 1972
Sunday, 18 January 2009
Somali pirates last September captured a Ukrainian cargo ship, the MV Faina, loaded to the gunnels with heavy weaponry, including 33 Russian-designed T-72 battle tanks. Since then, American and Russian naval vessels have been shadowing the ship at its anchorage off the fishing village of Hindawao, 300 miles north of Mogadishu. This month there were reports that the ship's owners had agreed on ransom terms, but the Faina and its crew are still being held. NEWSWEEK's Rod Nordland interviewed Shamun Indhabur, who is thought to be the leader of the pirates who took the Faina, and the Sirius Star, a Saudi supertanker with $100 million worth of oil aboard. The interview was conducted by satellite telephone to the bridge of the Faina, through Somali translator Abukar al-Badri. Excerpts:
What's the situation on board the Faina now?
The pirates are different groups. Those in Puntland may have problems with the middlemen and sometimes kill them.
Friday, 16 January 2009
Anxious moment for heli crew
LUMUT: Confronted by pirates off the Somalia coast was a nerve-wrecking moment for our navy boys.
Commander Sazalee Shoib, commander of the Super Lynx helicopter unit, was watching over the MISC container vessel Bunga Mas Enam which had stalled due to mechanical problems in November last year.
Below, two skiffs (speedboats) filled with the pirates were already near the vessel with six other skiffs rushing to the scene.
Commander Sazalee said there was a possibility that the pirates carried rocket launchers and other weapons.
Kapt Khalid speaking to Commander Sazalee (left) at the Lumut naval base Thursday. The KD Mahawangsa is seen in the background.
So he kept a safe distance but close enough to show the pirates that he meant business.
“Under the rules of engagement, we are not allowed to fire unless fired upon first,” said Commander Sazalee when met at the naval base here yesterday.
The pirates, probably considering their options, decided not to do anything.
After an hour, they retreated upon seeing the warship KD Mahawangsa.
The KD Mahawangsa had sailed to the Gulf of Aden on Sept 7 last year to escort merchant ships plying the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden.
A filepic of the warship escorting the MISC trade vessel to its destination.
One of its mission was to escort the Bunga Mas Enam and another merchant ship to Djibouti, Somalia.
KD Mahawangsa commanding officer Kapt Khalid Jaafar said the container vessel had fallen an hour behind due to the mechanical failure. The vessel’s crew then radioed in to say that eight skiffs were approaching the vessel.
“I decided to send the Super Lynx team (to watch over the vessel) while we make our way back to the vessel,” Kapt Khalid said.
He said it was an anxious moment for him and his crew.
The KD Mahawangsa returned to base here on Dec 17 and was replaced by the KD Sri Inderasakti.
Wednesday, 14 January 2009
Well on to the food it self, it was packed in a lunch box that consisted of the spaghetti of your choice and complimentary garlic bread and root beer to make it a complete meal. They only had beef bolognaise when I was there so this was the set neatly packed that I took back to the office. However I would like to comment that Delifrance should relook at their cap for the cup, as having a permanent hole will make the root beer slosh around in the pack and you will get a wet pack once you arrive at the office.
About the spaghetti, you actually get a quite smallish portion with three meatballs of your choice. Nonetheless the portion is quite sufficient for light eaters and the meatballs do add bulk to meal. I cannot say the same for the garlic bread though as half a top will not dolah Delifrance. I know that it is free but do a bit of justice with the portion will you. And do not stinge with the utensil will you as a plastic soup spoon is not an appropriate utensil for eating spaghetti with! Why? Does a plastic fork that is more suitable cost too much more? This is quite a glaring weakness for this pack meal for me. Luckily the overall taste of the spaghetti, meatballs and sauce was satisfactory for my palate.
Anyway for a heavy eater like me, the portion certainly does not suffice and I rectified this when I saw the portion of spaghetti being packed. I decide to also purchase a chicken béchamel topped croissant that attracted my eye when I was waiting for the meal to be packed. This I have no complaints with as the topping with chicken bites and chopped button mushrooms mixed in béchamel sauce was supremely delicious. In fact I felt that two pieces of this for lunch would actually make a more substantial lunch than the one I just had at a slightly lower cost of ringgit five twenty each. So the verdict is that though this spaghetti offer itself will not elicit a return visit for me, but the béchamel croissant is another proposition itself.
Tuesday, 13 January 2009
O Allah! We seek Your assistance and ask for Your guidance, and we beseech Your forgiveness and return to You in repentance. We cherish faith in You and place our trust in You. We attribute all goodness to You. We are grateful to You and refuse to be ungrateful to You. We abandon and forsake all those who reject You. O Allah, You alone we worship, unto You alone we pray; unto You alone we prostrate, and for You alone we strive. Unto You alone we flee for refuge. We cherish hope in Your mercy and we fear Your retribution. Verily, Your punishment is bound to catch up with those who reject the truth.