KD Lekir (fore) with USS Bunker Hill
|Operators:||Royal Malaysian Navy|
|In service:||15 August 1984-|
|Type:||FS 1500 corvette|
|Displacement:||1850 tons full load|
|Length:||97.3 m (319 ft)|
|Beam:||11.5 m (38 ft)|
|Draft:||3.5 m (11 ft)|
|Speed:||28 knots (52 km/h; 32 mph)|
|Range:||5,000 nmi (9,300 km; 5,800 mi) at 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph)|
The Kasturi-class corvettes are two ships of the Royal Malaysian Navy, KD Kasturi (F25) and KD Lekir (F26). They were acquired in the mid-1980s. The two ships constitute the Malaysian Navy's 22nd Corvette Squadron, their homeport being Lumut. After about 25 years of service, they underwent an extensive modernisation known as Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) starting in 2009, enabling them to be employed for another 10 to 15 years. They have since been returned to active duty.
The two ships of the class are named after Hang Kasturi and Hang Lekir, two heroic figures from the Malay 15th-century epic narrative Hikayat Hang Tuah. They share this characteristic with the two Lekiu-class frigates KD Lekiu and KD Jebat, as well as the old frigate-turned-trainingship KD Hang Tuah, all of which are named after figures from the epic as well.
The class was ordered in February 1981, and built by the German Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) shipyard. Both ships were simultaneously launched on 14 May 1983 and commissioned on 15 August 1984. Two more were planned, but were never ordered. The Kasturi class is based on HDW's FS 1500 design. The two ships constitute the Royal Malaysian Navy's 22nd Corvette Squadron. Their homeport is Lumut at the west coast of the Malayan Peninsula, facing the Strait of Malacca and the Indian Ocean.
In August 2009, a Service Life Extension Programme (SLEP) was awarded to Boustead Heavy Industries to overhaul the aging corvettes, with work to be carried out locally at the Boustead Naval Shipyard in Lumut. By this time, KD Kasturi had reportedly not been operational since 2007, and it would eventually take almost seven years for her to resume operational status in early 2014. KD Lekiu remained in active duty until the SLEP work on her began in October 2011 and was completed in November 2014. The SLEP is estimated to have extended the corvettes' service life by around 15 years.
Sensors and Electronics
The SLEP modernisation comprised extensive changes to the original configuration of the ships, aimed at both extending their service life as well as improving combat capabilities. The TACTICOS Combat Management System from Thales replaced the older Signaal SEWACO MA command system and the DR3000S Electronic Support Measures suite including the Therma SKWS Decoy Launching System was installed. The DA-08 search radar and the WM22 fire control radar were overhauled, and the Thales MIRADOR electro-optical sensor replaced the Signaal LIOD optronic director. A DSQS-24C hull-mounted sonar from Atlas Elektronik was installed to complement the new torpedo-launch capabilities.
The Kasturi class' original armament was heavily altered by the 2009 modernisation as well. The 57 mm Bofors was moved from the aft to the bow, where it replaced the 100 mm gun as the main gun. No new aft gun was installed. The two manually operated Emerlec 30 mm twin-barrel anti-air guns were replaced with 30 mm single-barrel MSI DS30B guns. Anti-submarine capabilities were enhanced by replacing the dated Bofors 375 mm anti-submarine rocket launcher with two EuroTorp B515 triple torpedo launchers equipped with Whitehead A244-S torpedoes. The launchers however were reportedly salvaged from the Laksamana-class corvettes, which thereby lost their anti-submarine capabilities.
There are conflicting reports about the Exocet anti-ship missiles. Some sources state that the Kasturi class prior to the SLEP had been equipped with the Exocet MM38, an old variant of the missile, and that the modernisation included an upgrade to the newer and more capable Exocet MM40 Block II variant. Other sources state that the ships had been equipped with MM40 Block II missiles straight from the beginning.
The Kasturi class is powered by a CODAD propulsion system, provided by four MTU diesels driving two shafts and developing 23,460 horsepower (17,490 kW) driving two controllable pitch propellers. This gives a maximum speed of 28 knots (52 km/h; 32 mph), and a range of 5,000 nautical miles (9,300 km; 5,800 mi) at 14 knots (26 km/h; 16 mph).
The Kasturi class has a helideck aft suitable for the Malaysian Navy's Super Lynx 300 and Fennec helicopters. Lacking a hangar, it does not carry an embarked helicopter. According to support future mission it will be fitted with hand-launched UAV system as Schiebel has been selected.
Lekir and USS Carl Vinson.
Lekir underway in the Strait of Malacca.
Lekir and the Lekiu-class frigate KD Jebat tied up at Stokes Hill Wharf in July 2005.
Lekir during the CARAT 2008 exercise.
- Almirante Padilla-class – A Colombian ship class also based on the FS 1500 design.
- Gardiner and Chumbly, p.258
- Saunders, Stephen (2004). Jane's Fighting Ships 2004–2005. Jane's Information Group. p. 454.
- "Boustead Unit Gets RM 703.823 Million Contract From Defence Ministry". Bernama. 12 August 2009. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
- "Back in the Saddle, Again". Marhalim Abbas, malaysiandefence.com. 17 January 2014. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
- "KD Lekir Successfully Modernised". Rentaka. 4 November 2014. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
- "Navy Deploys KD Kasturi, KD Lekiu In Search For MH370". Bernama. 19 March 2014. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
- "Boustead Naval Shipyard Awarded SLEP Contract". KL Security Review. Retrieved 12 January 2015.
- "A What-if Design of the Laksamana class SLEP". Marhalim Abbas, malaysiandefence.com. 8 January 2015. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
- Friedman, Norman (1997). The Naval Institute Guide to World Naval Weapons Systems, 1997–1998. US Naval Institute. p. 227.
- Baker, A.D. The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World 1998–1999. Annapolis, Maryland, USA. ISBN 1-55750-111-4.
- Gardiner, Robert; Chumbley, Stephen & Budzbon, Przemysław (1995). Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1947–1995. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-132-7.
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