Royal Malaysian Navy to Equip Kedah-class Corvettes with Naval Strike Missile (NSM)
The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) has laid out an MYR214 million (USD48 million) plan to equip two of its Kedah-class corvettes with Naval Strike Missile (NSM) launchers.
The plan is being proposed as a three-part procurement project under the RMN’s ‘Rolling Plan 4′ of the 12th Malaysia Plan, which runs from 2021 to 2025. The global open-source intelligence company Janes reported that Rolling Plan 4 covers proposals that will be funded in the country’s national budget for 2024. Currently, the Kedah-class vessels are armed with guns only (76 mm gun on the bow, 30 mm gun on the aft), making them quite lightly armed and fairly vulnerable for naval ships of their size, thus justifying their listing as offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) rather than proper corvettes. The missiles themselves can be easily “plugged in” with little delay as soon as the Royal Malaysian Navy has purchased them.
The Kedah-class offshore patrol vessels of the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) are six ships based on the MEKO 100 design by Blohm + Voss. Originally, a total of 27 ships were planned, but due to programme delays and overruns, only six were eventually ordered. Their construction began in the early 2000s, and by 2009, all six were in active service. The six vessels are named after Malaysian states. While their size and tonnage implies the Kedah-class ships to be corvettes, they are classified as offshore patrol vessels by the Royal Malaysian Navy, a category more common with law enforcement or coast guard vessels, not naval warships. This is rooted in the fact that the Kedah class was delivered in a condition named for but not with, meaning that certain weapon systems were not included in the original purchase, but all provisions to install and use them, including sensors and electronics, are already present in the ships.