Two Kasturi-class corvettes, KD Kasturi and KD Lekirwere, built by the German shipyard HDW, constitute the Royal Malaysian Navy’s 22nd Corvette Squadron.
As early as the 1980s, the Royal Malaysian Navy began to adjust and actively improve its coastal defense strategy in order to build a modern navy leading in weapons and equipment in Southeast Asia. The Malaysian Navy acquired two Kasturi-class corvettes in 1983, KD Kasturi and KD Lekir, and Commissioned in 1984. After about 25 years of service, they underwent an extensive modernisation known as Service Life Extension Program starting in 2009, enabling them to be employed for another 10 to 15 years.
The two ships were built by the German shipyard HDW, constitute the Royal Malaysian Navy’s 22nd Corvette Squadron. Two more were planned, but were never ordered. The vessel is based on the Blohm + Voss FS 1500 design which was also used for Almirante Padilla Class ships of the Colombian Navy. The modular design allows future upgrades to the vessel. The ship has an overall length of 97.3m, a beam of 11.3m and a draft of 3.5m. The standard displacement of the vessel is 1,500t, while full load displacement is 1,850t. The ship can complement a crew of 124.
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 Combined diesel and diesel propulsion system, provided by four MTU diesels driving two shafts and developing 23,460 horsepower, driving two controllable pitch propellers. This gives a maximum speed of 28 knots, and a range of 5,000 nautical miles at 14 knots.
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.