Saturday, June 8, 2019

Book back cover featuring the Malaysian navy submarine Tunku Abdul Rahman & Tun Sharifah Rodziah

This is the cropped final artwork for the back cover of the fictional story. It shows a Royal Malaysian Navy Scorpene-class submarine, KD Tunku Abdul Rahman, with the Malaysian navy sea base, Tun Sharifah Rodziah, lurking in the background.

Front cover will show the Royal Malaysian Air Force as the story has a tri-Service element involving all arms of the Angkatan Tentera Malaysia (ATM).

Here's an extract from the fictional story that makes first mention of Tun Sharifah Rodziah. The characters and dialogue have been omitted. PL-TSR teams up with KD Tunku Abdul Rahman in a later chapter as the action builds. 

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The South China Sea
As Regiment 52 raced south with its Astros rocket launchers, a Tentera Laut Diraja Malaysia (TLDM, Royal Malaysian Navy) asset in the South China Sea also headed for its deployment area off Johor but at a more sedate pace. 

Under a clear tropical night sky studded with stars, the TLDM asset travelled by dry tow, carried piggyback aboard a commercial transport ship that steamed towards Johor at 14 knots.

It had taken the heavy lift transport about a week to sail from Semporna off the eastern coast of Sabah to the South China Sea. Such was the urgency of the deployment that the ship sailed non-stop. By dawn, she would have arrived at journey's end.

The TLDM asset was something of a floating paradox. It was used by the Malaysian navy but it was not a warship. The asset had no pennant number unlike most naval platforms but came under the TLDM order of battle. Even with her haze paint scheme that was the same shade as Malaysian warships, the floating structure might have passed as just another oil rig.

Her full name in Malay was Pangkalan Laut Tun Sharifah Rodziah (PL-TSR) - Sea Base Tun Sharifah Rodziah – and she was named to honour the wife of a former Malaysian prime minister. The floating sentinel moved steadily towards her assigned action station off Johor’s eastern seaboard codenamed Daerah Maritim 7 or Delta Mike Seven. 

Her assigned mission: To keep an eye on one of the world's busiest sea lanes that led from Singapore harbour to the South China Sea, observe and report all surface activity and signal Markas TLDM (Royal Malaysian Navy HQ) with regular updates.

Her anchor point in Delta Mike 7 was a strategic location as all shipping lanes that linked the Singapore Strait with the South China Sea fell well within her radar horizon. Once the mat at the base of the platform's tubular legs was ballasted fully and anchored to the sea floor, PL-TSR commenced sentry duty by tracking and reporting every vessel movement within her area of operations.

Tun Sharifah Rodziah served as gate keeper to the enemy’s attempts to break out from Singapore straits into the South China Sea. It was a heroine’s job because the sea base was right in the path of the naval task groups on the warpath. 

Although the Malaysian navy sailors knew that they were sailing into a political storm, they were blissfully unaware that their voyage took them right past a fledgling storm of the meteorological sort. The fair winds and following seas so cherished by sailors was due to winds that blew in from Siberia into Southeast Asia for several months every year. This was a seasonal phenomenon that the Malaysian sailors experienced during the Northeast monsoon.

During the voyage in the South China Sea, the TLDM sea base and her transport vessel came within a hundred nautical miles of a mass of unstable air off Sabah. Known by weathermen as a Borneo Vortex, the area of turbulence raged beyond the horizon as a spectacular lightning storm. The vortex swirled undetected out of reach from the transport vessel’s weather radar.

Within days, a strong and persistent cold surge from Siberia would swirl round the Borneo Vortex to form a far more sinister weather pattern that challenged weather theory and severely disrupted military operations.

End of extract

Related topic:
Malaysian Army tank transporters go into action. Click here

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