Sunday, January 22, 2012

What's In A Name?

Credit to Mymil forum for posting this article:

Call naval patrol ships by actual term, Pua tells Putrajaya

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 21 —The federal government should stop conflating the six naval patrol ships it was buying for RM9 billion with “littoral combat ships” when they are from a lesser category, DAP’s Tony Pua insisted today.
The DAP lawmaker said he could now confirm that the government was not acquiring “littoral combat ships (LCS)” as claimed, but another class of naval vehicles called “Gowind Class Corvettes”.
The Gowind-class corvettes are not ships to be belittled and are powerful in their own ways which may serve the needs of Malaysian navy, but they are not by means the equivalent of LCS as trumpeted by the minister and the government,” he added.
The DAP publicity chief has been sparring with Defence Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi in and out of Parliament over the hike in costs for the six vessels after this was revealed to have ballooned from an initial RM6 billion to a whopping RM9 billion.
He pointed out that the LCS is a specific type of ship built to a specific length, speed and design by the US navy and no other country. He added that the US’ currently had only two such vessels in service and was building others.
The Petaling Jaya Utara MP noted Mindef officials said the top speed for Malaysia’s patrol ships could only reach 28 knots, which was lower than the 40 to 45 knots of the standard LCS.
The six ships were also to be shorter, measuring 105m long, and would not have the long-range transit reach of 3,500 miles (5,600km).
Mindef officials also said each ship can carry only one Eurocopter 725 onboard and would not have the capability to launch and recover small boats.“It will certainly be a stretch of any military expert’s imagination to equate our purchase of these SPGV Corvettes to the state-of-the-art LCS,” Pua said.
After being slagged off a number months ago for comparing the SGPV (which is corvette-sized) shipwith, among others, smaller Fast Attack Craft and even ships designed and built 20 years ago, the esteemed Mr Pua blaming the government for giving 'fancy names'. Furthermore he allege that the SGPV is of a 'lesser category' than the USN's LCS.
Now, while the proposed Gowind-class corvette is not the same with the USN's Littoral Combat Ship (with title case), they ARE designed to fight in the littoral zone (which is, basically the coastal area between the high water mark to the depth of 200 feet). So, it is not wrong to describe the SGPV as littoral combat ships (lower case)!

While he is right in that the Gowind-class is indeed slower, have less aircraft capacity and doesn't have the stern ramp for launching boats, I believe he is quite wrong when saying that the SGPV is 'lesser' than the LCS, especially in these areas:
1. "Does not have the long-range transit reach of 3,500 miles"
That range is actually influenced by the speed ANY ship (except nuke- and wind-powered) makes. The faster it moves, the lesser the range. And if the private venture l'Adroit (to be handed over to the French Navy) is to be used as reference, she has a range of 8,000 miles @ 14 knots (the Freedom-class LCS has a range of 3,500 miles @ 18 knots, so I guess the operating range is roughly the same)

2. Weaponry
The US LCS are equipped with a single 57mm gun, 4 12.7mm machine guns, 2 30mm cannon and one 21-cell RAM missile launcher. It has been proposed to carry up to 45 A(M?)GM-175 Griffin missile, with a range of 3.5 miles and a 13-pound warhead.

The proposed weapons for the Gowind-class is Aster 15 or Mica RF surface to air missiles with a range of up to 30km (RAM's range is 9km); MM40 Exocet or RGM-84 Harpoon Anti-ship missile (range of  up to 180km and 140km respectively and warheads of 165kg and 221kg). Plus guns.

So, honestly, in weapons capability at least, is the Gowind/SGPV 'lesser' than the LCS?

1 comment:

mumuchi said...

Always a good one from you bro!