The Royal Malaysian Navy’s first submarine, the Scorpene-class KD Tunku Abdul Rahman, will make a port call here on Tuesday on its maiden voyage from Toulon in France to Sepanggar in Malaysia.
Coming as it does at a time when India is building six Scorpene-class submarines, through technology transfer, at the Mazagon Dock Limited in Mumbai, the visit gains significance for the Indian Navy. Fruitful interaction between both Navies will take place during the vessel’s stay.
KD Tunku Abdul Rahman is the first of the two Scorpene-class diesel-electric submarines ordered by the Malaysian Navy. Jointly built by French DCNS and Spanish Navantia, the submarine was formally handed over to it at a ceremony held at the French naval base in Toulon in late January. On July 9, it began its homeward journey and called at Jeddah and Djibouti. After a three-day stopover here, it will depart for Lamut and Port Klang in Malaysia before surfacing at Sepanggar in Sabah in early September to be home-ported at the naval base there.
The submarine, captained by Commander Zulhelmi Ithnain, has a full complement of 31-member crew. Malaysia signed the deal to acquire two Scorpene-class submarines in 2002, and KD Tunku Abdul Rahman, named after the country’s first Prime Minister, was launched in October 2007. The year-long sea trials during which Black Shark heavyweight torpedoes and missiles were fired from it successfully ended in December last year.
The Royal Malaysian Navy will take delivery of its second submarine, KD Tun Razak, later this year.