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Multi-Role Support Ship [MRSS] / Multipurpose Support Ship (MSS)

As of 2019 the Royal Malaysian Navy 15 to 5 transformation program called for the acquisition of three MRSS ships, the two first of which being delivered between 2021-2025 and the third one by 2035.

RMN has an outstanding requirement for a Multi-Purpose Common Support Ship (MPCSS) to replace the KD Inderapura. The MPCSS was to be included in the Ninth Malaysian Plan but was postponed due the financial crisis of 2008. However, with the fire and damage to the KD Inderapura in October 2009, the replacement program was expected to be restarted.

Plans for a light aircraft carrier were first considered in the early 1980's as part of the MAF expansion programs, yet did not attract support. Such an LPH would operate large numbers of helicopters to transport of troops and slingable equipment, and have dock facilities available for vehicle embarkation/debarkation. Or an LPD could support a forceable entry landing that required the support of heavy vehicles such as tanks. The type of vessels being talked about was an LPD like the the Netherlands Rotterdam, which is capable of carrying medium-sized helicopters. The rationale was that these ships (the requirement was for two ships at least) would be able to undertake missions with a minium of escorts. The helicopters could also be used to ferry troops ahead of the main troop being brought to shore on board LCACs.

In late 2002 the chief of Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) outlined the need for a "light carrier" in the near future. This vessel, dubbed a Multipurpose Support Ship (MSS), would improve the RMN capabilities in handling multitudes of task given to them in order to protect Malaysian interests in the region. The vessel would carry tactical transport and ASW/ASuW helicopters, and if the budget permitted, a squadron of fixed wing attack aircraft. A few local shipbuilders offered to build such vessel in a joint ventuer with a foreign firm in Malaysia if the MINDEF gave the green light. In April 2008 Janes Defence Weekly reported that Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak told a news conference on 21 April that Malaysia may postpone its Multipurpose Support Ship (MSS) requirement due to financial constraints. The MSS program was to cover the purchase of up to three landing platform docks (LPDs) under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (2006-10), but this may instead be deferred until the Tenth Malaysia Plan (2011-15). Dato Seri Najib said that the government would make a decision on the deferral after the completion of a mid-term review of the current plan in July 2008. "The program will depend on the finances available to the government and we may not have the funds available because of the rise in fuel prices and the need to ensure food security," he said.

By early 2009 a review of government spending forced the Royal Malaysian Navy to delay its plans to acquire up to three 18,000 ton Multipurpose Support Ship (MPSS). As of late 2009 there were efforts to replace KD Sri Inderapura. The Defense Ministry was evaluating vessels from South Korea, France and Germany. As the building of a new ship will take between 48 and 60 months, work on the matter had already begun. Malaysia was reported to be interested in buying two 18,000-ton amphibious ships.

Other accounts suggest the Malaysian Navy had a requirement for a 13,000 ton LPD. China's China State Shipbuilding and Trading Corp (CTSC) consortium has offered to build a modified version of the 071 LPD for the Malaysian Navy. The Chinese-built 071 LPD is said to cost only about one-third of a comparable US-built San Antonio-class LPD. However, as of mid-2008 Malaysia had made no decision on the purchase.

The Royal Malaysian Navys biggest amphbious ship, the KD Sri Inderapura caught fire October 8, 2009. KD Sri Inderapura was officially decommissioned from Royal Malaysian Navy on January 21, 2010. By November 2009 the Royal Malaysian Navy was set to replace the gutted amphibious ship "KD Sri Inderapura" with a similar amphibious ship from the South Korean Navy. Malaysian DefenSe Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi stated that the Korean ship was expected to join the RMN fleet in 2010. Since it was a loan agreement, there were no financial implications to the Malaysian government. He said he had discussed the matter with the South Korean prime minister & defence minister during his official visit to Korea for the Seoul International Aerospace and Defence Show 2009 on 20 October 2009.

The vessel would also relieve the burden currently shouldered by the two RMN transport ships ("Mahawangsa" & "Inderasakti"). The South Korean Navy operates one type of LST, the Kojoon Bong-class. 4 or 5 of the LSTs remain in service with the South Korean Navy. They were built from 1991 to 2002 at the Korean Tacoma shipyard, the same facility that built the "Mahawangsa". The Kojoon Bong-class LST is 113 metres in length and powered by 2 diesel engines that give it a maximum speed of 16 knots. The ships can carry up to 700 troops and 4 landing craft. The ships are armed with 2 twin 40mm guns and two 20mm guns.

In March 2010 it was reported that the Government intended to make reservations for three vessels SokonganPelbagai Function (MRSS) to replace the existing ships. In April 2010 it was reported that the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) will lease a Republic of Korea Navy Multipurpose Support Ship (MPSS).

As of early 2011 the purchases planned in the Tenth Malaysia Plan (10MP) included six Anti-Submarine Warfare Helicopters, a multi-purpose support ship (MSS) and disaster support ship to boost the country's maritime defence.



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