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RMN to Buy Six Fast Interceptor Craft for Ops Benteng

SHAH ALAM: The Defence Minister has issued a Request For Bids (RFB) for the procurement of six Fast Interceptor Craft (FIC) for the RMN for Ops Benteng use. The tender came shortly after another RFB for the wet lease of two helicopters also for the same operation.

I have no idea whether the new tender is an extension of an earlier one or a completely new one. The old tender had been put on hold as it came under criticisms as it favoured agents instead of the local industry which claimed they can manufacture the boats locally. The new tender is open only to local manufacturers. However, it must be said if they bought six FICs from a local manufacturer based on this tender, it should be elementary that if RMN has further needs for more boat of the same type or role, they should buy the same ones. That said stranger things have happened before.

The RFB for the FICs for Ops Benteng was published on 20 July and closes on 30 July. As usual I am not purview to the detailed technical specifications but the bidders must also supplied the RMN with support and spares for one year. Based on the technical specifications review list, we are informed that the FICs general arrangement should be approved by the International Association of Classification Societies and the design complied with the International Code of Safety for High-Speed Craft, 2000.

It would powered by diesel engines to power water jets and equipped with generators and fitted with with a forward looking infra red turret, a navigation radar and other equipment for sea going boats ie AIS, DGPS etc. The list however did not mentioned any need for a remote weapon station.

The list also stated that the FICs be fitted with shock absorbing seats for the crew and an embarked Quick Reaction Force (QRF). It did not state the crew numbers but usually such boats carry four-crew members and at least six personnel for QRF duties. It need to have a pantry though which means that the FICs should be out on patrol for a day at least.

One technical specification that must be complied with – if bidders put forward a boat which did not comply with the technical list it would be rejected at the start of the tender review – is that the boats offered must have a beaching capability. Not many FICs were designed with beaching capability though, based on memory the ones that are the CB 90 and Watercat M14 both already in service with the RMN and the marine police, respectively.

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