LUMUT: The Royal Malaysian Navy will send personnel for training in France in preparation for the setting up of Malaysia’s submarine unit in four years’ time.
Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Mohd Shafie Apdal said an agreement on the training was signed with the French navy last week and he hoped the training could be conducted soon.
The navy would be buying two submarines and that called for comprehensive training of personnel, he said.
“For the training in France, I understand that they have to be at the seabed for 52 days. However, I am confident that our personnel are strong enough for that,” he told reporters at a Hari Raya gathering with navy personnel at the naval base here on Saturday.
Shafie said the navy was conducting basic training for about 100 personnel who would serve as pioneers of the submarine fleet.
“However, the training conducted by the navy is just an introductory course. With this pact on training, our navy personnel will get more specialised training on submarines,” he said.
He said the proposed naval base in Sepanggar, expected to be ready in five years, would be equipped with facilities for submarines.
The navy will take delivery of two new Scorpene class French submarines – one each in 2007 and 2008 – and will get an overhauled ex-French navy Agosta submarine for training purposes in two years.
Shafie said the ministry would upgrade the defence system as planned.
“We will buy equipment to enhance the capability of our armed forces. For the air force, we will purchase new aircraft and for the army, the tanks,” he said.
The ministry would also speed up the construction of bases this year, with priority given to the ones in Semporna and Sepanggar, both in Sabah, he said. – Bernama
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