Friday, September 4, 2009

Malaysia’s first sub KD Tunku Abdul Rahman arrives after 54-day journey from France

PORT KLANG: Malaysia’s first submarine, the KD Tunku Abdul Rahman(TAR), sailed into our shores after a 54-day journey from Toulon, France.

Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin witnessed the arrival of the 67.5m-long submarine, the pride of the Royal Malaysian Navy, at Pulau Indah here at 9.18am yesterday. It can dive to 350m.

Close to 300 people watched in awe as KD TAR was brought to the dock by two tugboats Splendor and Scorpio at the KD Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah naval base in Pulau Indah.

Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin going down the hatch to check out the new vessel.

Crew members outside the submarine hatch waved to the eager crowd who were captivated by the shiny black vessel as it docked alongside the jetty at 9.18am.

“Our nation’s move to acquire the submarine will give the navy greater and more effective control over our waters.

“Our Government is taking action to protect our shoreline from threats, and this submarine being our first gives a credible boost to our naval forces within the region,” said Tuanku Mizan.

Also present was Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Raja Muda of Selangor Tengku Amir Shah.

Getting the feel of it: (From right) Tuanku Mizan, Sultan Sharafuddin, Najib and Tengku Amir Shah taking a closer look at the submarine.

All 32 crew members have been trained on a four-year course in maintenance, operations, submersion techniques and overcoming challenging situations.

Over the 54 days, the KD TAR has been taken to depths of 350m to test the submarine and at the same time acclimatise the crew to such depths.

KD TAR will be at Port Klang overnight before leaving for the Lumut naval base and to its final duty station in Sepanggar naval base in Sabah.

The submarine is equipped with six torpedo tubes which can fire simultaneously; anti-ship surface missiles and anti-submarine torpedoes.

Tuanku Mizan said operating a submarine in the navy was a welcome force-multiplier, as the craft would help secure the movement of ships and affirm Malaysian sovereignty in its waters.

“A submarine is a sophisticated asset and it must be used to advance the nation’s naval force to ensure a sustainable and comprehensive approach to protect our seas,” said Tuanku Mizan.

All 32 members of the KD TAR crew were congratulated by Tuanku Mizan.

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the new initiative to strengthen the navy was chiefly to protect Malaysian waters, build a naval network with neighbouring countries, and better anticipate the impacts of changing maritime traffic requiring safe routes.

The submarine project began when Malaysia signed a deal to purchase two submarines in 2002.

*Taken from The Star Online

*For more info about KD Tunku Abdul Rahman aka Scorpene, click here

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