From Nacho photos ... not mine, I did not have the means and time to visit the occassion.
The first submarines emerged way back in the 1860’s in the American civil war. Perhaps the most famous one was the Hunley which story was made into a TV movie and was aired over Astro recently. These early apparatus were used to attack military targets such as warship.
However, the really wide scale use of submarines came in World War II where Germany used its U-Boats to attack merchant ships bring in war and non-war supplies into the United Kingdom so that the nation can be starved and deprived into submission.
It became a strategic weapon whereby instead of directly attacking British warship in a conventional kill or be killed confrontation.
U Boats were used as "Wolf-Packs"approach where 3 to 20 submarines seek to envelop a group of merchant ships and try to sink as many ships and materials as possible.
The number of Allied ships lost was horrendous. More than 3,000 ships were lost in the Battle of Atlantic. Each ships carried tens of sailor so the casualties were very very high. The plight of the brave sailors injured with severe burns and broken limps floating in the icy cold and violent Atlantic Ocean was too horrible for me to imagine.
Later American submarines did the same to Japan in the closing stages of World War II and effectively put the entire Japanese population into a state of desperation and famine as supplies of raw materials and essential goods from sea was prevented successfully from entering into Japanese harbours. Some American commanders believed that the situation was so bad that even without the atomic bomb, Japan might surrender after another 6 months of blockade.
Nowadays, the greatest submarines in the world are nuclear submarines carrying nuclear Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles. These vessels are capable of submerging under the sea for months and able to launch nuclear missiles across thousand of miles. It is now a strategic deterrent weapon where if your nuclear opponent has wiped out your armies and air force, you still have your submarines hidden somewhere undetected to retaliate. A means to holocast.
So what did we Malaysians paid millions to acquire and maintain the 2 submarines for?
Malaysia comprise of a peninsular plus the northern shoreline of the formidable Borneo sub-continent so it has a vast area to cover. The most recent and significant threat comes from pirates with small, swift, powerful speedboats and we all remember the high profile Sipadan Island hostage taking case. It must have been a horrible experience for the victims and we must not allow this kind of thing to happen again.
But submarines are not designed to chase pirates in little boats. It s primary weapon is torpedoes which is meant to hit bigger, slower cargoes or warships. Its vision from periscope or its cone tower is very limited compared to helicopters which afforded greater vision to its personnel so submarines are not designed and built to locate and hunt down pirates.
Let’s see how our democratically elected leader explains it
“It is crucial for Malaysia to have a small but credible and effective naval force not only to safeguard its sovereignity and maritime interests against any eventuality but more importantly contribute to the maritime security and safety in the region,” he said at the launch and naming of Malaysia’s first Scorpene submarine at the DCN Shipyard, here.
- I don’t get it. Maybe I am stupid. Our shorelines are big and our sea area is huge, extending all the way up to Spratly Island, right? So how can our naval force cover that much area and remain small and effective?
- Imagine trying to hire 2 security guard to walk around the whole Putrajaya administration complex…..
- Submarines are not meant to counter anything and everything as its combat versatility is not great.
Najib’s wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, launched the submarine which was named after Malaysia’s first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman.
- Must have been a charming spectacle, let’s move on….
Najib said the introduction of the Scorpene submarine would certainly strengthen RMN’s naval capability.
- Huh? To do what? Reads like a karangan tingkatan lima if you ask me.
On the seabed lie underwater pipelines that transport Malaysia’s oil and gas ashore as well as cables that link major international communication networks.
- Naval submarines are not built to ferry civilian pipe engineers to sea bed or watch over miles and miles of cable, right?
- Am I missing anything?
One thing Badawi said about Malaysia is “First World Facility but Third World Mentality”. Given the Nuri accident rates, one wonders about the prevailing maintenance capability and culture.
Our intrepid current DPM who used the nation’s armed forces helicopter to attend his political party’s little powwow was stout, unperturbed and brave as the national asset was expertly landed when mechanical problem surfaced.
However, if our submarine were to suffer malfunction or accident severe enough to render it immobile or even sink it, do we have the capability to rescue our brave, expensively assembled and trained submariners?
Look what the Russians have to endure when the Kursk exploded and sunk
We need to learn from them ... oops another lawatan sambil belajar....
I remember some statistic was quoted to the effect that only 0.01% of the national service boys and girls died so 35 submariners out of thousand of naval personnel could provide a similar acceptable ratio, I suppose.
Whoever that has to explain things to the family of 0.01% has an unenviable task, that’s for sure.