Royal Malaysian Navy First Maharaja Lela-class Littoral Combat Ship
Royal Malaysian Navy First Maharaja Lela-class Littoral Combat Ship

Royal Malaysian Navy to Receive First Maharaja Lela-class Littoral Combat Ship in 2025

The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) would receive its first Maharaja Lela-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) in 2025. The government had agreed to approve the LCS procurement application under the 10th Malaysian Plan (10MP) and 11MP with the 10-year implementation period from October 3, 2013 to October 2, 2023. The settlement initiatives outlined two main components, namely, corporate restructuring and fund raising, which also involved discussions with the Ministry of Finance and the Economic Planning Unit in the Prime Minister’s Department. Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said he took an inclusive approach by engaging with all the stakeholders such as Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT) and Boustead Holdings Bhd to address the issues in the procurement of the LCS.

The Maharaja Lela-class frigates (before known as Second Generation Patrol Vessel (SGPV) or Littoral combat ships (LCS) is a class of six stealth frigates being built for the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN). The ships are based on an enlarged version of the Gowind-class corvette, designed by DCNS of France. The contract has been finalised and it has been decided that all six ships will be built by local shipbuilder Boustead Heavy Industries Corporation (BHIC) for the RMN at a ceiling price of RM9 billion (US$2.8 billion), starting from 2015. All six ships will be built in Lumut, Malaysia and electronic components will be assembled in Cyberjaya, a township in Malaysia just south of Kuala Lumpur. The ships will be 111 metres (364 ft 2 in)s long with a displacement of 3,100 tonnes (3,100 long tons).

Keel laying ceremony of the Royal Malaysian Navy's Maharaja Lela-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)
Keel laying ceremony of the Royal Malaysian Navy’s Maharaja Lela-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) (Photo by Boustead Heavy Engineering Corporation)

The Bofors 57 mm gun will be mounted in a stealth cupola similar to the ones mounted on the Swedish Visby-class corvettes. This frigate also equipped with two MSI DS30M 30 mm cannon as a secondary gun. BHIC also announced that there has been 16 Sylver VLS allocated on the deck of the ship for the surface-to-air missile although the missiles not contracted yet as 2019. At the LIMA 2015, BHIC confirmed that the Naval Strike Missile had been chosen for this frigate anti-ship missile requirement, winning over the Exocet MM40 Block 3. For the anti-submarine capabilities, it is confirmed that the ships will be equipped with two J+S fixed triple torpedo launcher. It is believed that the RMN had requested for Thales Herakles radar that used on the FREMM frigates but BHIC had instead chosen the SMART-S. These following sensors have been chosen for the ships.

In 2020, Malaysian government have announced that the LCS project encountered some delays.The Ministry of Defence awarded the project to BHIC in 2011 and at least two vessels should have been delivered by 2020 but none of the ships delivered yet as 2020. The Ministry of Defence is considering two options to resolve the delayed RM9 billion LCS project by BHIC. The first option is BHIC need to continue the construction of the first of two ships so the government can resolve it. The second option is the government will ask the DCNS (now Naval Group) to complete the ships but this option was rejected by the parliament. As of October 31 this year, the work progress for the LCS was at 57.05 per cent compared to the original work plan schedule of 96.57 per cent. Overall, the procurement experienced a delay of 39.52 per cent or equivalent to 43 months.

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