The as-yet unnamed first of a planned 27 MEKO 100RMN patrol vessels for the Royal Malaysian Navy was launched by Blohm + Voss at Hamburg, Germany, on 21 March 2003 and is seen here being eased into the cargo well of the heavy-lift ship Condock-IV, which left for Malaysia on 1 April. Now at the PSC-Naval Dockyard Sdn Bhd (PSC-NDSB) facility at Lumut, the 299-foot, 1,650-ton (full-load displacement) ship will complete fitting out and run trials in preparation for commissioning on 1 June 2004. Blohm + Voss laid down the second ship of the class on 21 December 2002, but the other four in the initial $1.42-billion contract are to be assembled by PSC-NDSB in Malaysia with gradually decreasing German technical assistance. Powered by two Caterpillar 3616 diesels, the ships will have top speeds of 22 knots, a range of 6,050 nautical miles at 12 knots, and a 21-day endurance. Armament includes a 76-mm OTO Melara Rapid gun mount forward, a 30-mm OTOMelara-Mauser gun atop the hangar, and two machine guns. Late in 2002, the patrol mission was augmented to include an antisubmarine capability, to be fulfilled by the ships' yet-to-be-selected medium-weight helicopters.
By A. D. Baker III