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BAE 95-Meter Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV)

The Offshore Patrol Vessel is a highly versatile ship, designed to perform Economic Exclusion Zone management roles, including the provision of maritime security to coastal areas and effective disaster relief. Royal Brunei Technical Services Sdn Bhd contracted with Britain' GEC-Marconi for three ships under a UK/Brunei government-to-government contract signed in January 1998, budgeted at around US $350 million each. GEC was soon bought out by BAE Systems Surface Fleet Solutions.

A variant of the generic F2000 series corvette design, the 95m long design was a reduced version of the Lekiu Class built by the same yard for Malaysia. Simply calling them Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) was a bit of an understatement, other classifications have it as a corvette or even light frigate. The corvettes originally ordered were sufficiently well armed enough to at least pause give to Malaysia in the event the maritime boundary dispute moved from the diplomatic phase into a more direct confrontation.

The first of three offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) being built for the Royal Brunei armed forces was launched 12 January 2001 at the BAE Systems shipyard at Scotstoun on the Clyde. BAE Systems is the prime contractor for this major export order. The OPV is 95m long and just over 12.5m wide. It displaces approximately 2000 tonnes, has a maximum speed of around 30 knots, a range of 5000 nautical miles, and is powered by four diesel engines driving two propeller shafts.

Main armament includes one 76mm and two 30mm guns, Exocet and Seawolf missiles, plus torpedoes and decoy launchers. The ship has a crew of 79, and can accommodate a further 24 people if needed. The vessel's primary roles include maritime policing, anti-air, surface, and submarine warfare, and naval gunfire support. Simon Kirby, managing director of BAE Systems Marine said: "The launch is a key event in the life of the ship, and an appropriate time to congratulate everyone within BAE Systems whose skills and expertise have brought her to this stage. We now look forward to completing this very sophisticated vessel to the high standards we set for ourselves, and which our customers require."

With a displacement of approximately 1,500 tons standard and 2,000 tons full load, the new Brunei OPVs had a maximum speed of 30 knots and a range of 5,000 nautical miles at 12 knots. Endurance was 14 days, with a crew of 62 (including eight officers) and 24 berths for Flag Staff and scientists. They are powered by four Paxman diesels turning two controlled-pitch propellers, and their hulls are fitted with fin stabilisers. A flight-deck aft provided for the operation of a Seahawk-size helicopter, but there is no hangar facility.

KDB Nakhoda Ragam was the first of the new class of three 95m offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) built by BAE Systems Marine for the Royal Brunei Navy, launched in January 2001 and presented for acceptance in December 2003. Bendahara Sakam, the second ship of the class, was launched in June 2001 and completed its trials program in May 2004. The third and final vessel, named KDB Jerambak, was launched in June 2002 and presented for acceptance in December 2004 following conclusion of its trials program.

However the Sultan of Brunei claimed the ships were not as he had ordered, and they remained berthed at BAE's Scotstoun yard on the Clyde. Senior defense industry executives believed the Bruneians lacked the trained personnel needed to run the highly sophisticated vessels. Or possibly Brunei had not initially understood how difficult and costly it would be to keep them operational, and the extent to which they would require extensive support and maintenance facilities at their Muara Naval Base.

In early 2004 BAE Systems took the Sultan of Brunei to court. A closed hearing was held at the International Court of Arbitration in London in June 2006. In 2007 Brunei lost it's arbitration case and the two sides began working on a face-saving deal that would have Brunei take ownership of the OPVs on paper but then immediately sell them to another buyer. By 2008 a sale of the oversized and over-equipped OPVs, possibly to Malaysia, was under discussion. Brunei commissioned the German shipbuilding firm Lurssen to find a buyer for the vessels. Lurssen offered to re-sell them in return for a contract with Brunei for a similar number of less complicated ships. Sorting out the OPV problem kept the RBAF from moving forward on much-needed equipment procurements, and less complex Darussalam-class 80 meter Offshore patrol vessels were ordered from Lurssen Werft.

James Fisher and Sons of Barrow won the contract to look after the three ships. The first of the three ships, the Nakhoda Ragam arrived in Barrow from Glasgow in August 2007 and the same crew then fetched the other two. The ships had been out on occasional runs to keep them in trim and show them to potential customers. Through its affiliate Global Naval Systems, Lurssen offered the British-built patrol vessels to several Gulf countries but didn't find buyers.

The November 2009 issue of Sea Breezes said: News reports that have emerged in the last few weeks indicate that the three BAE Systems-built Corvettes built at great cost for the Sultan of Brunei, that have languished in Barrow in Furness for years, may finally have been sold to Algeria." The proceeds from the sale of the ships to Algeria was partly deducted from the price of the three new vessels for Brunei. The corvettes were sold to Algeria at an undisclosed price, but believed to be well below their original 600 million (US$1.71 billion at 2007 exchange rates) cost to Brunei.

The deal with Algeria fell through, and by early 2012 the Indonesian Military (TNI) reportedly wanted to buy the vessels by now classified as light frigates - for $395 million. But Tubagus Hasanuddin, of the House Commission I, asked why the TNI wanted to buy outdated ships. Why do we have to buy ships that fail to meet specification standard, Tubagus Hasanuddin, deputy chairman of House Commission I that oversees defense, said on Wednesday. We might not even be able to use them. The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle politician said he was suspicious of the frigate's low price tag.

By the end of 2012 the ships were still at Barrow in Furness, amid further reports that the three OPVs would be acquired by TNI-AL and inducted into service in 2013. The OPV had been redesignated as Multi Role Light Frigate. Should the Indonesian deal become fruitful, the induction of the OPVs will further cement the relationship between Indonesia and Brunei which has been established decades before.

By early 2012 the Indonesian Military (TNI) reportedly wanted to buy the three BAE Systems-built Corvettes built at great cost for the Sultan of Brunei by now classified as light frigates - for $395 million. But Tubagus Hasanuddin, of the House Commission I, asked why the TNI wanted to buy outdated ships. Why do we have to buy ships that fail to meet specification standard, Tubagus Hasanuddin, deputy chairman of House Commission I that oversees defense, said on Wednesday. We might not even be able to use them. The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle politician said he was suspicious of the frigate's low price tag.

By the end of 2012 the ships were still at Barrow in Furness, amid further reports that the three OPVs would be acquired by TNI-AL and inducted into service in 2013. The OPV had been redesignated as Multi Role Light Frigate. Should the Indonesian deal become fruitful, the induction of the OPVs will further cement the relationship between Indonesia and Brunei which has been established decades before.

Indonesia sent a team to London to negotiate the purchase of warships from Britain in January 2013. Indonesia is interested in buying three frigates from Britain, with the agreement on the purchase conducted on a transfer-of-technology basis, as Indonesia was aiming to produce its own similar ships in the future. The Navy plans to buy 4 missile destroyer escorts from PT PAL, 16 Trimaran type fast missile boats from local shipyards. In addition there are plans to buy two survey vessels, one training ship KRI Dewaruci replacement, 2 hydro-oceanographic survey ships and 12 landing craft tank (landing ship tank).

Displacement 2,000 tons
Length 95 meters
Maximum beam 12.5meters
Propulsion 2 x 7,350kw diesel engines
2 x Warstilla propellers
maximum speed 30 knots
range 5000 nautical miles @ 12kt
Weapons and sensors
missiles SSM = MBDA (Aerospatiale) Exocet MM40 SAM = MBDA (BAE Systems) Seawolf
Main armament Oto Melara 76mm
Secondary armament 30 mm DS 30B REMSIG (port & starboard)
12.7mm gun location (port and starboard)
torpedo two triple 324mm tubes
Electronics Air and surface surveillance radar
X-band navigation radar
S-band navigation radar
Electro-optic system electronics
Fire monitors
Communications High frequency transceiver
Very high frequency transceiver
Very High Frequency marine band
Global maritime distress safety system
Mission capability 20 meter flight deck for seven tonne helicopter
16 tonne crane
6 x six meter ISO containers
Pacific 24, speed 39 knots Fast interceptor craft
crew 79






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Page last modified: 21-03-2013 19:28:54 ZULU