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KD Tunku Abdul Rahman - Scorpene submarines

In 2006 Malaysia’s Defence Ministry negotiated through a Kuala Lumpur-based company, Perimekar Sdn Bhd, to buy two Scorpene submarines and a used Agosta submarine produced by the French government under a French-Spanish joint venture, Armaris. The brutal murder of a Mongolian national, Altantuya Shaaribuu, in 2006 to shocked the nation and raised questions surrounding the purchase of the submarines. Altantuya, a Mongolian translator, was shot in the head on 19 October 2006 and then blown up with C4 explosives, which are available only from Malaysia’s military. Altantuya, by her had been blackmailing her then-lover Abdul Razak Baginda, owned by a company called Ombak Laut, which owned Perimekar.

Plans called for 2 Scorpene submarines & 1 Agosta 70B from Armaris of France to be delivered in 2008 The Malaysian Scorpene submarine program reached a milestone in March 2007 when a joining ceremony was held in Cherbourg, France to commemorate the joining of the fore and aft sections of the first Scorpene submarine built for the Malaysian Navy. According to plan, DCNS in Cherbourg will be in charge of building two fore sections while Navantia will be in charge building the two aft sections in Cartagena, Spain. The two submarines were expected to arrive in Malaysia by 2009. The submarines, upon commissioning, were known as KD Tunku Abdul Rahman and KD Tun Abdul Razak.

A private investigator's legal deposition, revealed by Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on 03 July 2008, implicated Deputy Prime Minister Najib in the high-profile Altantuya murder case. Najib's advisor Razak Baginda and two members of Najib's security detail were on trial for murder in this case. The deposition, based primarily on statements reportedly made by Altantuya and murder defendant Razak Baginda, indicated that Najib had an affair with Altantuya, Altantuya assisted Najib in the controversial purchase of French submarines, and Najib attempted to intervene on Razak Baginda's behalf at the time of his arrest. Anwar also publicly accused Najib and Rosmah for being behind the sodomy allegations against Anwar.

The country's second Scorpene submarine was named and launched by the Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Nur Zahirah on 09 October 2008 at a ceremony witnessed by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin at the Navantia Naval shipyard. Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop, armed forces chief Gen Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Zainal, navy officials and shipyard workers were among those who gathered to celebrate the launching of the 67.5-metre diesel-powered submarine, KD Tun Razak.

The KD Tun Razak, like the country's first submarine, KD Tunku Abdul Rahman, was built by DCNS of France and Navantia of Spain. KD Tun Razak will enter service in March, 2010. The submarine was named after the country's second prime minister, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, in recognition of his contribution to the country. The first submarine, KD Tunku Abdul Rahman, is named after Malaysia's first prime minister. Both submarines can undertake a wide range of missions, including naval blockades, information-gathering and landing or retrieval of commandos.

They can operate alone or in combination with air and sea forces. The new generation diesel-powered Scorpene has been hailed as a benchmark in the world conventional submarine market. It is capable of operating in coastal waters and the high seas. It is armed with wire-guided torpedoes and Exocet SM39 sub-launched, anti-surface-ship missiles. Malaysia is the second customer for the vessel after Chile, while India is acquiring it under a slightly different deal since it is building it in its own dockyard under licence. Both submarines will be based at the naval base in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. The Scorpenes can operate at depths of 350m for 40 days, making them suitable for deployment in the South China Sea and the Straits of Malacca. They are manned by a crew of 31.

On 27 January 2009 DCNS delivered the Royal Malaysian Navy's first-ever submarine. This on-time delivery follows Malaysia's decision to set up a submarine force comprising two Scorpene-type conventional-propulsion boats. The Royal Malaysian Navy took formal delivery of Scorpene submarine KD Tunku Abdul Rahman at the official handover in Toulon. The guests of honour included RMN Chief of Staff Admiral Dato'Sri Aziz Hj Jaafar. KD Tunku Abdul Rahman is the first of two Scorpene submarines ordered by Malaysia in June 2002 and developed jointly by DCNS and Spanish naval shipbuilder Navantia. In addition to the submarines proper, the contract calls for associated logistics and training. This major milestone for the RMN followed the completion, in late December 2008, of KD Tunku Abdul Rahman's final sea trials demonstrating remarkable operational and combat system capabilities. These trials included successful firings of Black Shark heavyweight torpedoes and missiles. KD Tunku Abdul Rahman was scheduled to arrive in Malaysia early in the second half of 2009. The second of the series, KD Tun Razak, was scheduled for delivery in late 2009.

In his speech, Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop said the Scorpene submarines would strengthen the RMN's capability in undertaking the many challenging tasks facing it. He said it would not only protect the country's shores but also the underwater assets. "Malaysia is essentially a maritime nation. Given its geographical setting, it is inevitable that Malaysia's national interest and security concerns are closely related and associated with the sea." He said the country's maritime area was about twice its land mass area. "Within this span of water lies rich maritime resources and minerals that increasingly contribute to the country's economy." He pointed out that more than 90 per cent of the country's domestic and international trade was dependent on sea transportation. "On the seabed lies underwater piping that transport our oil and gas ashore, as well as cables that link major international communication networks," he said.

              KD TUN RAZAK

Builders : DCN, Cherbourg and Navantia,Cartagena

Laid down : 2 Dec 2003
                         Nov 2004

Launched : 2007

Commissioned : Jan 2009
                              Dec 2009

Displcement, tons : 1577 surfaced, 1711 dived

Dimensions, feet (metres) : 217.9 x 20.3 x 17.7
                                                   (66.4 x 6.2 x 5.4)

Main machinery : Diesel electric, 2 SEMT-Pielstick
                                12 PA4 200SM DS diesels,
                                1 Jeumont Industrie motor,
                                4700 hp (3.5 MW), 1 shaft

Speed, knots : 20.5 dived, 12 surfaced

Range, n miles : 360 at 4 kt dived, 6000 at 8 kt

Complement : 32

Countermeasures : ESM: Thales DR 3000,intercept.

Weapons control : UDS International SUBTICS.

Radars : Navigation: I-band.

Sonars : Hull mounted, active/passive search and
                attack, medium frequency.

Programmes : Contract for the construction of two
                          submarines awarded to Armaris and
                          IZAR on 5 June 2002. A four-year
                          training programme aboard an
                          Agosta-70 (ex-Ouessant) is
                          included in the package. First steel
                          cut for first of class 2 December

Structure : Similar in design to the Chilean boats.
                    Diving depth more than 300 m (984 ft).
                    Options to retrofit AIP at a later date.

Operational : To be based at Sepanggar Naval
                         Base, Sabah.


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