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RMN Brief History


The Royal Malaysian Navy had its roots in the formation in Singapore of the Straits Settlement Naval Volunteer Reserve (SSNVR) on 27th April, 1934 by the British Colonial Government in British Malaya. The auxiliary was formed to assist the Royal Navy’ in the defence of British Malaya in the light of the political developments in Asia, in particular the growing Japanese expansionist policies in Asia. The formation of a Penang branch in 1938 saw its expansion.

On 18 January 1935, the British Admiralty presented the Singapore Government with a Flower-class corvette, the HMS Laburnum, to serve as the Reserve’s Headquarters and drill ship. It was berthed at the Telok Ayer Basin. HMS Laburnum was sunk by the invading Japanese troops during the Second World War.

With the outbreak of the Second World War in Europe, the Straits Settlement Naval Volunteer Reserve increased the recruitment of mainly indigenous personnel into the force, to beef up local defences as Royal Navy resources were required in Europe.

Members of the Straits Settlement Naval Volunteer Reserve were called up to active duty, the force was augmented by members of the Royal Navy Malay Section. This formed the basis of the navy in Malaya, called the Malay Navy, manned by indigenous Malay personnel (similarly, the Malays were recruited into the fledgling Royal Malay Regiment formed in 1936). The Malay Navy had a strength of 400 men who received their training at HMMS PELANDOK, the Royal Navy training establishment in Malaya. Recruitment was increased and in 1941 at the outbreak of the war in Asia, the Malay navy had a strength of 1450 men.

Through the Second World War, the Malay Navy served with the Allied Forces in the Indian and Pacific theater of operations. When the war ended with the Japanese Surrender in 1945, only 600 personnel of the Malay navy reported for muster. Post war economic constraints saw the disbandment of the Malay Navy in 1947.


The Malay Navy was reactivated on 24 December 1948 at the outbreak of the Malayan Emergency, the Communist inspired insurgent war against the British Colonial government. The Malayan Naval Force regulation was officially gazetted on 4 March 1949 by the British Colonial government and The Malayan Naval Force was based at an ex-Royal Air Force radio base station in Woodlands, Singapore. The base was initially called the ‘MNF Barracks’ but later renamed HMS Malaya. The Malayan RNVR was reconstituted as a joint force comprising the Singapore Division and the Federation Division, by an Ordinance passed in Singapore in 1952.

The main mission of the Malayan Naval Force (MNF) was coastal patrol in order to stop the communist terrorists from receiving supplies from the sea. In addition, the Force was tasked with guarding the approaches to Singapore and other ports.

The MNF was firstly equipped with a River-class frigate HMS Test that was used as a training ship but by 1950 had in service an ex-Japanese minelayer HMS Laburnum, a Landing Craft Tank (LCT) HMS Pelandok, motor fishing vessel HMS Panglima, torpedo recovery vessel HMS Simbang and several seaward defence motor launches (SDML). The vessels of the Force were later renamed with the prefix Malayan Ship (MS) to differentiate them from Royal Navy units.


In August 1952 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, bestowed the title ‘Royal Malayan Navy’ Singapore to the Malayan Naval Force in recognition of the sterling service in action during the Malayan Emergency. The navy’s ships now carried the prefix Her Majesty’s Malayan Ship (HMMS) and subsequently flew her own white ensign on 31 December 1956 though it was then still part of the Royal Navy.

The Royal Malayan Navy Singapore was eventually transferred to the independent Federation of Malaya on 12 July 1958 and renamed the Royal Malayan Navy (RMN). With the hoisting of The Federation naval ensign – the White Ensign modified by the substitution of the Union Jack with the Federation flag in the upper left corner- the RMN was thus made responsible for Malaya’s maritime self defence. The new force shouldered the responsibility with only an operational and training base at HMMS MALAYA and a small coastal fleet of 1 LCT, 2 Ham-class inshore minesweepers, 1 coastal minelayer and 7 ML’s (ex RN’s 200th Patrol Squadron) on transferred from the Royal Navy.

On 16 September 1963 the naval force was renamed Royal Malaysian Navy with the formation of the Federation of Malaysia.


The Royal Malaysian Navy was gradually strengthened after the formation of Malaysia. 18 “Keris” class patrol boats were ordered from Vosper, and these formed the mainstay of the navy for years to come. These 103 ft boats were driven by maybach diesels and capable of 27 knots. The Keris patrol boats are confined to coastal patrols and had short endurance.

An offensive capability was acquired with the purchase of 4 Vosper fast attack craft. The “Perkasa” Fast Patrol Boat were built for the TLDM by Vosper Thorneycroft in 1967. Powered by three Rolls Royce Marine Proteus gas turbines as the main power plant with two diesel auxiliary engines for cruising and manoeuvring. These were armed with four 21″ torpedoes and one 40mm Bofors gun forward and one 20mm cannon aft. It had a maximum speed of50knots/hour and was driven by triple propellers. The ROYAL NAVY transferred a Loch class frigate HMS LOCH INSH (F433) to TLDM in 1964 and renamed KD Hang Tuah. In 1965, during the Indonesian Confrontation, HANG TUAH took over guardship duties off Tawau from HMAS YARRA. The ship served TLDM until decommissioned in the 1970s and scrapped.

In 1977, TLDM acquired the frigate HMS MERMAID from the Royal Navy to replace the decommissioned Hang Tuah. The ship was also named KD HANG TUAH (F72) and retained HMS Mermaid’s pennant number. KD HANG TUAH is a 2,300 std ton light patrol frigate armed with twin 102mm guns. HANG TUAH gradually reverted to a training role and currently continues in that role for TLDM.

F24 KD RAHMAT (ex-HANG JEBAT) joined TLDM in 1972. The 2,300 ton ship was a one off Yarrow light frigate design for TLDM. The ship was originally named KD HANG JEBAT but renamed after initial propulsion problems during pre commissioning trials. It was the first Malaysian naval vessel equipped with a missile (Seacat) system. RAHMAT was decommissied in 2004.

TLDM purchased several types of Missiles boats in the 70s and 80s. These were 4 Combattante II attack boats purchased from France and 4 Spica IIs from Sweden. Both classes were armed with the Exocet MM38 missiles. TLDM also acquired two 1,300 ton OPVs of Korean design.

SEALIFT requirements were met by the purchases of several ex-US Navy LST. A1501 KD SRI BANGGI (ex-LST 834 HENRY COUNTY) and A1502 KD RAJAH JAROM (ex LST-1123 Sedgwick County) were replaced by A1505 KD SRI INDERA PURA, an ex-US navy Newport Class LST 1192 USS Spartanburg County. Additional sealift capability is provided by two 4,300 ton 100 meter Multi Role Support Ships, the A1503 KD SRI INDERA SAKTI and A1504 KD SRI MAHAWANGSA.

Minehunting capabilities are provided by 4 MAHAMIRU minehunters. These are Italian LERICI class minehunters of 610 tons displacement. Hydrographic duties are handled by KD PERANTAU and KD MUTIARA. A Naval Air Wing was also founded with the purchased of ex-Royal Navy Westland Wasps.


4 LAKSAMANA class coverttes were purchased from Italy. These compact ships were originally built for Iraq but were not delivered due to sanctions put in place against Iraq.

The latest addition to the TLDM fleet were the addition of two LEKIU class frigates. Based on the YARROW FS200 design, the two 2,300 ton frigates are armed with SSMs (8 Exocet MM40s) and the Sea Wolf VLS point defence SAM system with accommodation of one Westland Super Lynx helicopter.

Two HDW Germany built KASTURI class frigates were delivered tocomplement the two Lekiu frigates. These 1500 ton light frigate are armed with Exocet SSM and can accommodate a single Lynx helicopter. The first 2 of 6 MEKO A100 corvettes have been launched by B+V Germany, named SRI KEDAH (171) and SRI PAHANG (172). Another 4 ships are to be built in Malaysia leading to a planned total purchase of over 20 ships. These ships are termed OPVs and are not armed with offensive weapons, though the modular MEKO design would accommodate any upgrades.

The first Scorpene submarine will be delivered to the Royal Malaysian Navy at the beginning of 2008 and expected to have an initial operational capability in 2009. The construction of two Scorpene submarines are to be built jointly by the French shipbuilder DCN and its Spanish partner, the IZAR group. Moreover, it includes the redeployment of an Agosta Class Submarine, formerly in service in the French National Navy, for the training of submarine crews. The training of 150 Malaysian seamen, mainly in France, represents an important aspect of the contract.

TLDM have developed a future force structure plan that calls for a force of ten frigates, added to the New Generation Patrol Vessel (Blohm + Voss Meko A100 design) of which six are due to be acquired.


TLDM has purchased 6 Westland Super Lynx helicopters for the ship in its fleet and is operational with 499 Squadron. The Aerospatiale AS 555 Fennecs is operational with 500 Squadron. The Westland Wasps has been retired from service. TLDM has six AgustaWestland Super Lynx Series 300 helicopters on order, which ought to cover their initial helicopter needs. However, with KD LEKIU and KD JEBAT, each having an embarked helicopter, and deck facilities on the NGPVs, the Super Lynx force will be stretched.


TLDM left their historical home at KD MALAYA in Woodlands, Singapore into their modern base at KD MALAYA in Lumut (HQ). Another based was constructed in Tanjong Gelang, Kuantan (serves as HQ Naval Region). Bases are also located in Labuan, Sungei Antu (Sarawak), and Sandakan (Sabah). A submarine forward base is also being constructed in Sabah, East Malaysia.


All TLDM Ships carry the prefix KD for “KAPAL DiRAJA” meaning His Majesty’s Ship.The Training vessel Fajar Samudra however carries a KLD prefix for KAPAL LAYAR DiRAJA for His Majesty’s Sailing Ship.


LEKIU Class Frigate
29 KD Jebat
30 KD Lekiu

KASTURI Class (FS 1500) Frigate
25 KD Kasturi
26 KD Lekir

LAKSAMANA Class Corvette
134 KD Hang Nadim
135 KD Tun Abdul Jamil
136 KD Mohammad Amin
137 KD Tan Pusmah

MEKO A-100 Class Corvette
171 KD Pahang (fitting out)
172 KD Kedah (fitting out)

PERDANA (Combattante-II 4AL) Fast Attack Craft (M) 1
3501 KD Perdana
3502 KD Serang
3503 KD Ganas
3504 KD Ganyang

HANDALAN Class (Spica-M) Fast Attack Craft (M) 2
3511 KD Handalan
3512 KD Perkasa
3513 KD Pendekar
3514 KD Gempita

JERONG Class (Lurssen TNC 45) Fast Attack Crafts (G)
3505 KD Jerong
3506 KD Todak
3507 KD Paus
3508 KD Yu
3509 KD Baung
3510 KD Pari

11 KD Mahamiru
12 KD Jerai
13 KD Ledang
14 KD Kinabalu

MUSYTARI CLASS Offshore Patrol Vessels
160 KD Musytari
161 KD Marikh

SRI IDERA SAKTI Class Support Ship
1503 KD Sri Indera Sakti
1504 KD Mahawangsa

1505 KD Sri Indera Pura (ex-LST 1192 USS Spartanburg County)

76 KD Hang Tuah
KLD Fajar Samudra



Agusta 70 Class Training Submarine
SSK Scorpene Class Attack Submarine

6 x AS 555 SN Fennec
6 x AgustaWestland Super Lynx 300

Resource: http://www.tvwiki.tv/wiki/Royal_Malaysian_Navy