The two Lekiu-class frigates are currently considered the most modern surface warships of the Royal Malaysian Navy

Not to be outdone by the powerful navies of Southeast Asia, Malaysia is increasing its naval modernization with a series of military contracts. The most notable is the Maharaja Lela class frigates, but for various reasons, this class has yet to be completed. Currently, playing the core role of the Royal Malaysian Navy is the Lekiu-class frigate, consisting of two ships: KD Jebat and KD Lekiu, both commissioned in 1999.

The two Lekiu-class frigates are currently considered the most modern surface warships of the Royal Malaysian Navy, at least until the Maharaja Lela-class frigates are completed. The ships were built in the United Kingdom by Yarrow Shipbuilders of Glasgow from the company’s standard F2000 frigate design.

Lekiu-class Frigate
Lekiu-class Frigate

The Lekiu-class frigates have a full load displacement of 2,300 tons, a length of 106 m, a beam of 12.75 m, and a draft of 3.08 m. The propulsion system is in a combined diesel and diesel configuration. The ship has four MTU 20V 1163 TB93 diesel engines, rated at 24.5MW sustained power. The engines drive two shafts with Kamewa controllable pitch propellers. The ship can attain a speed of 28kt and has a range of over 5,000 miles. The crew is 146 people, with 18 officers.

The ship is equipped with the Alenia Marconi Systems Nautis F combat data system. A Radamec Series 2000 optronic weapon director is installed on the roof of the bridge and the ship is also equipped with a Type V 3001 thermal imager from BAE Systems.

The frigates’ anti-ship missile is the MBDA MM40 Exocet block II. The two four-cell launchers are installed in the midship section between the two radar masts. The launchers are installed at a fixed angle of elevation, in a crossed configuration, one facing port and one starboard. Range and bearing data are downloaded into the missile’s on-board computer. The MBDA Seawolf short-range missile provides protection against supersonic aircraft and anti-ship missiles to a range of 6km. The 16 vertical launchers are installed in front of the bridge.

The ship’s main gun is the Bofors 57mm gun with a rate of 220 rounds a minute, and the range is 17km. On the raised deck at the level of the roof of the helicopter hangar are the Whitehead 324mm B515 triple tube torpedo launchers for lightweight anti-submarine launchers. The hangar and helipad can accommodate an AgustaWestland Lynx helicopter.

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