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Bung Tomo class

Multi-role corvette

Bung Tomo class | Nakhoda Ragam class

Based on the F2000 design the three Bung Tomo class corvetted were built to order for Brunei, but were ultimately delivered instead to Indonesia

 
 
Country of origin United Kingdom
Entered service 2014
Crew 79 men (up to 24 passengers)
Sea endurance 14 days
Dimensions and displacement
Length 95 m
Beam 12.8 m
Draught 3.6 m
Displacement, standard 1 500 t
Displacement, full load 2 000 t
Propulsion and speed
Speed 30 knots
Range 5 000 nm at 12 knots
Propulsion 4 x MAN B&W diesel engines, total output 40 500 shp
Airwing
Helicopters 1 x Eurocopter AS565 Panther
Armament
Artillery 1 x 76-mm dual-purpose gun, 2 x 30-mm anti-aircraft guns
Missiles 8 x launch tubes for Exocet AShM, 16-cell VLS for Seawolf SAM
Torpedoes 2 x triple-tube 324-mm torpedo launchers; Mk.46 torpedoes

 

   The Bung Tomo class guided missile corvettes were manufactured in the United Kingdom for export, based on the Yarrow F2000 design. All three vessels in the class are operated by the Indonesian Navy, and were commissioned in 2014. However, these vessels were constructed more than a decade prior to their commissioning, and were not originally intended for sale to Indonesia; how they ended up in this situation is one of the most peculiar episodes in recent military procurement.

   These class' origins date back to 1995, when the Royal Brunei Navy ordered three corvettes based on the F2000 design from GEC-Marconi (now BAE Systems Surface Ships), in a deal with 600 million (about US$1.2 billion). The sale was approved by the government of the United Kingdom in January of 1998, and construction of the corvettes began that year.

   The three vessels were all constructed at the BAE Systems Marine shipyard at Scotstoun, Glasgow. Exactly when the keels were laid is unclear, but the three vessels were launched in 2001 and 2002. The FF-28 Nakhoda Ragam was launched on January 13th 2001, the FF-29 Bendahara Sakam on June 23rd 2001, and the FF-30 Jerambak on June 22nd 2002. The deliveries and sea trials of the new corvettes were competed in 2003, and they were to be commissioned in 2004.

   Following the sea trials of the (former) Nakhoda Ragam class, Brunei refused to accept delivery of the new corvettes. The Sultan of Brunei himself objected to the delivery, claiming that the F2000 corvettes were not completed according to the contract. What followed was years of legal disputes over the contract, while the three newly-completed ships remained moored at Barrow-in-Furness in the UK. A settlement was reached in May of 2007, after which the manufacturer ceded the vessels to the Royal Brunei Technical Services (RBTS), which is essentially that nation's defense ministry, though they still weren't accepted into service. Also in 2007, the RBTS contracted the German Lurssen shipyard to find an alternate customer for the corvettes, which itself became a lengthy affair; Lurssen finally signed a contract to sell them to the Indonesian Navy in November of 2012.

   The Nakhoda Ragam class were commissioned on July 18th 2014, as the FF-357 Bung Tomo, FF-358 John Lie, and FF-359 Usman-Harun. However, controversy still seems to have followed these warships even into the navy of another nation, as the government of Singapore objected strongly to the names chosen for them. The Usman-Harun was named after Harun Said and Osman Hj Mohd Ali, two Indonesian Marines who were arrested and convicted in Singapore for the 1965 Bombing of MacDonald House. Relations soured over this issue, though it was resolved earlier in 2014 Indonesian Navy formally apologized for this decision (though the FF-359 is still named the Usman-Harun).

   The Bung Tomo class corvettes have a generously flared hull with a high overall freeboard, a low aft quarterdeck, and a lightly-raked forecastle. A knuckle in the sides extends from the end of the forecastle to the beginning of the aft quarterdeck, with the sides of the hull sloped slightly inward above this line. The superstructure is low and angular, with a single, tall mast with a narrow pyramidal shape, and an aft funnel with a long, sloped cap. There are few antennas or other protrusions, giving the vessel a very austere appearance. The main gun and a Vertical Launch System (VLS) missile pad are located forward, and anti-ship missile launchers aimed crosswise at each broadside are wedged between the superstructure and the funnel.

   The C3I system of the Bung Tomo class is an Alenia Marconi Systems (now BAE Systems Insyte) Nautis II command and weapons control system. The Nautis II has the ability to detect, identify, track, and engage air, surface, and submarine threats, and automatically operate the weapons and sensors in a combat situation, and even navigate the vessel. It also has a "training mode", allowing the crew to perform training simulations for a wide variety of situations and scenarios.

   The sensors and fire control systems include a Ultra Electronics/Radamec Series 2500 electro-optic weapons director for the main gun, which has an eye-safe laser rangefinder and an infrared imaging sight, used both to aim the gun and for surveillance purposes; a Thales Underwater Systems TMS 4130C1 medium-frequency sonar; two BAE Insyte 1802SW I/J-band radar trackers used to guide the Seawolf Surface-to-Air Missiles SAMs; BAE Systems Insyte AWS-9 3D E- and F-band air and surface search radars; a Kelvin Hughes Type 1007 navigation radar; and a Thales Nederland Scout surface search radar.

   The ECM suite includes a Thales Sensors Cutlass 242 ESM system, a Thales Scorpion radar jammer, and two Wallop Defence Super Barricade chaff mortars.

   Originally meant to be powered by four Ruston & Hornsby diesel engines from the UK, the Bung Tomo class was instead outfitted with four MAN 20 RK270 diesels from Germany (probably a result of Brunei's dealings with the Lurssen shipyard), with a combined power output of 40 500 shp to two shafts. Enough fuel is carried for a range of 5 000 nautical miles. The turning circle is unpublished, but is presumably between 100 m and 300 m.

   The artillery of the Bung Tomo class consists of a 76SR "Super Rapid" 76-mm/62 dual-purpose gun, and two DS30M 30-mm anti-aircraft guns. The missile battery includes of 16 vertical launch cells for the Seawolf SAM, and 8 container/launchers for the MM.40 Exocet anti-ship missiles. Two STWS triple-tube launchers for 324-mm torpedoes are mounted amidships; though these are British-made torpedo tubes, they are used to launch US-made Mk.46 torpedoes.

   These ships were also originally meant to have a Close-In Weapon System (CIWS), but to date, none has been fitted.

   The ammunition consists of 85 76-mm shells, 640 30-mm shells, 16 Seawolf SAMs, 8 Exocet anti-ship missiles, 6 Mk.46 torpedoes, and an unknown quantity and variety of helicopter-served ordnance. Note that these figures are only for ready 76-mm shells, 30-mm shells, and Mk.46 torpedoes; the amount of stowed ammunition has not been published. No reloads for the Seawolf or Exocet are carried, as the launchers must be reloaded in port.

   The aviation facilities are very spare. A landing pad for a single helicopter is provided, but not a hangar.

   As of 2016, the three Bung Tomo class Corvettes remain in service with the Indonesian Navy. They have not been involved in any combat operations, although they played an important part in the search and recovery operations Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 in December of 2014 --- particularly in their use of the TMS 4130C1 sonar to search for the missing black boxes.

   It remains to be seen whether Brunei will attempt to acquire another class of corvettes.

 

Related vessels

 

   Lekiu class: These two frigates are also F2000-pattern warships, but were completed in a different configuration.

   Khareef class: A class of three corvettes also based on the similar Vosper Thorneycroft (now also part of BAE Systems Marine) Mk.9 design.

   Qahir class: A class of 2 frigates also based on the Mk.9 design.

 

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Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Status
Bung Tomo (FF-357), ex-Nakhoda Ragam 1998 (?) 2001 2014

active, in service

John Lie (FF-358), ex- Bendahara Sakam 1998 (?) 2001 2014

active, in service

Usman-Harun (FF-359), ex-Jerambak 1998 (?) 2002 2014

active, in service

 
Bung Tomo class | Nakhoda Ragam class

Bung Tomo class | Nakhoda Ragam class

Bung Tomo class | Nakhoda Ragam class

Bung Tomo class | Nakhoda Ragam class

Bung Tomo class | Nakhoda Ragam class


 
Bung Tomo class | Nakhoda Ragam class

Bung Tomo class | Nakhoda Ragam class

Bung Tomo class | Nakhoda Ragam class

Bung Tomo class | Nakhoda Ragam class

Bung Tomo class | Nakhoda Ragam class


 
Bung Tomo class | Nakhoda Ragam class

Bung Tomo class | Nakhoda Ragam class

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