KUALA LANGAT: Prime Minister's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor yesterday named and launched the Royal Malaysian Navy's new training vessel K.D. Gagah Samudera at the NGV Tech Sdn Bhd shipyard in Sijangkang, here.
The 76-metre ship, which has a maximum speed of 20 knots, is the first of two ships built for RMN by local shipbuilder NGV Tech Sdn Bhd in collaboration with South Korean company Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME).
Also present to witness the launch were former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Chief of Navy Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar, Ambassador of Korea to Malaysia Lee Yong Jun and NGV Tech Sdn Bhd executive chairman Datuk Zulkifli Shariff.
Zahid said Dr Mahathir was the catalyst to the construction of the ship and the vessel was a testament of a leader's commitment to the country even though he was no longer a prime minister.
"This shows there is a continuity to see through a project until it is successfully realised. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak himself had also instructed me to make sure that this ship was built."
Zahid said local shipbuilders should learn from Korea which was able to gain recognition as the world's biggest shipbuilder in just a span of 20 years.
Meanwhile, Aziz said the completion of the vessel had been long awaited by RMN not only to be used for training but also to patrol and monitor the country's waters.
He pointed out that RMN had been waiting for the ship after 27 of its ships were transferred to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency in 2006.
"At the moment, we only have K.D. Hang Tuah which is already 46-years old and KLD Tunas Samudera as training ships.
"We hope the government will take into account a proposal to procure another two ships from the company in the 11th Malaysia Plan as the two extra ships can replace RMN's eight fast attack vessels which are almost 40 years old," he said in his speech.
K.D. Gagah Samudera can accommodate 47 crew and 60 trainees and can travel 2,500 nautical miles without stopping or stay 21 days at sea before refuelling.
It also has a helicopter landing strip and is equipped with combat system, radar, navigation and communication equipment and short range weapons which would enable it to carry out naval operations when needed. Commissioning and handing over of the vessel to RMN will be in June next year after it undergoes sea trials.
Delivery for the second unit is scheduled to be in August next year.
K.D. Gagah Samudera is the 180th marine vessel of various designs and sizes built and launched by NGV Tech since 1999.