Friday, September 7, 2012
KRI Klewang: TNI's fast missile trimaran patrol vessel is launched
If looks alone could kill, you would not want to cross swords with the Indonesian warship, KRI Klewang.
Even without studying her vital stats, the rakish lines of the 63-metre long fast missile patrol boat with three hulls and her dagger-shaped bow tell onlookers KRI Klewang is unlike most other vessels afloat. Indeed, this man-of-war an instant head-turner, which makes this trimaran an ideal candidate for naval diplomacy as well as more serious naval business.
Launched last Friday from the North Sea Boats yard's in East Java, Klewang - she is named after a single-edged Indonesian sword - looks set to be the pride of the TNI. The first of four trimarans built for the TNI, KRI Klewang has few rivals in ASEAN navies when it comes down to a contest for futuristic looking warships.
As with most stealth warships, KRI Klewang follows the informal rule of thumb where the stealthier a war machine, the more attention it seems to attract because of its unusual and funky looking non conventional design.
In the case of KRI Klewang, her hull form is based on the proven wave-piercing trimaran design that saw the 24-m trimaran, Earthrace (above), establish a new world record for the fastest round-the-world trip by a power boat. Two years of intensive research and development with New Zealand naval architects, LOMOcean, saw the X3K trimaran design evolve into the KRI Klewang. Check out LOMOcean's designs here.
Built entirely of carbon fibre composites, KRI Klewang has almost no magnetic signature. Her sharply angled superstructure adds to the vessel's low observable features that make her hard to detect by radar.
Once the TNI completes the concept of operations for Klewang-class trimarans, the CONOPS for stealthy trimarans optimised for shallow draft work could see Klewang and her sister ships operate close to shore to make the warships less detectable against the clutter from land.
The 30+ knot dash speed and manoeuvrability of the vessels in confined waters, together with the suggestion that they can carry a gun/missile-armament give the trimarans the firepower needed to execute high speed ambushes against enemy vessels transiting narrow sea lanes.
A crew of 29 officers and ratings operate the warship. Accommodation and fighting spaces are spread over three decks. Space and weight has been reserved for an embarked special forces team or Indonesian Marines of unspecified size. The idea is for the trimaran to serve as a parent boat which can make a high speed run to deliver the passengers to their area of operations. A 11-m RHIB, capable of 50 knots, can be launched and retrieved while the trimaran is underway via a docking bay in the stern.
While the TNI's diesel-electric subs are no doubt the stealthiest boats in the fleet, the combination of shallow water in littoral areas, underwater obstructions (rocks and uncharted wrecks) and constraints on the number of passengers an SSK can embark make a surface insertion the preferred option in some situations. The Klewangs will give TNI greater flexibility in ops planning of special forces insertion/extraction as mission planners have another option to use.
KRI Klewang's specific warload is classified. However, North Sea Boats has said the trimaran will carry a China-made combat data system and a "rapid fire CIWS". A fact sheet circulated by the yard said the trimarans are designed to carry up to eight Type 705 anti-ship missiles, or RBS-15 or Exocet type SSMs. Gun armament could comprise 40mm to 57mm guns or a close-in weapon system of unspecified type. "These can be mounted high on the superstructure, giving better range and firing arc," it added.
Gun and missile armament will all be concealed to minimise radar signature, with the CIWS or gun turret unmasked when the trimaran closes up for action stations.
KRI Klewang's launch will be followed by extensive sea trials from October 2012. The warship is expected to be fully operational in 2013.
Fast facts: KRI Klewang
Launched: 31 August 2012
Crew: 29 officers and ratings
Length, overall: 63.0m
Length, waterline: 61.0m
Beam, overall: 16.0m
Water draft: 1.2m
Main engines: 4 x MAN V12 diesels powering MJP 550 waterjets
Dash speed: More than 30 knots
Range: 2000+ nautical miles on 50,000 litres of fuel
Acknowledgements: Many thanks to North Sea Boats for the preparation of this blog post.
Posted by David Boey at 6:25 AM