Although the Blohm + Voss MEKO RMN design was selected in October 1997 for the hotly contested contract for up to 27 offshore patrol ships for the Royal Malaysian Navy, the construction contract for the first six ships was not signed until November 2000. The first prefabricated section for the initial ship (inset) was placed on the assembly ways at the Blohm + Voss yard at Hamburg on 13 November 2001, and the 1,650-ton, 22-knot ship is to be in service by June 2004. In mid-2003, Blohm + Voss is to provide fully outfitted, prefabricated modules for two ships to PSC-Naval Dockyard (PSC-NDSB) at Lumut, Malaysia, and construction responsibility for later ships gradually will be transferred to PSC-NDSB. The 299-foot ships will be powered by two 8,000-brake-horsepower Caterpillar 3636 diesels and will have a range of more than 6,000 nautical miles at 12 knots. Initial armament will be an OTOBreda 76-mm gun forward and a 30-mm OTOBreda-Mauser 30-mm gun aft, but provision has been made for a 21-round RAM point-defense missile, launcher forward and four antiship missiles amidships. A crew of 78 is to be carried.
By A. D. Baker III