Brunei launches KDB Jerambak–third OPV built by BAE systems Marine

Brunei launches KDB Jerambak–third OPV built by BAE systems Marine

The third offshore patrol vessel, or OPV-actually a corvette or light frigate-ordered for the Royal Brunei Armed Forces was launched on 22 June from the BAE Systems Marine Scotstoun shipyard and named KDB Jerambak. Later that same day, official guests were invited to spend time at sea in the first of class, KDB Nakhoda Ragam, which currently is running Phase 1 Engineering Sea Trials on the River Clyde; the second ship in the class, KDB Bendahara Sakam, is now fitting out.

The Royal Brunei Armed Forces first discussed the acquisition of OPVs in 1987, but talks with BAE Systems Marine did not start until November 1992. On 14 January 1994 BAE Systems Projects Ltd. was awarded a prime contract for the construction of three 95-meter ships, which are fitted with a highly effective weapons suite and feature the latest ideas in signature-reduction and survivability.

Although these ships will be the first major units of the naval arm of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces, the nation has a long naval tradition. The Nakhoda Ragam is named for the “Singing Captain,” a nickname for Sultan Bolkhia, the fifth Sultan of Brunei, who reigned from 1485 to 1524. Pengiran Bendahara Sakam, one of Brunei’s most famous warriors, defeated and expelled the Spanish from Brunei in 1578. Awang Jerambak was the cousin of Sultan Muhammad, the first Sultan of Brunei, and a renowned warrior who defeated pirates off the coast of Brunei.

The Sultanate is today still worried about piracy in its territorial waters, despite having only 66 miles of coastline. The new ships are intended to work in cooperation with the naval units of neighboring Malaysia and Singapore.

Copyright Navy League of the United States Aug 2002

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