LCS: First batch reduced to five vessels, says navy chief

Photo by Zahid Izzani Mohd Said/The Edge

Photo by Zahid Izzani Mohd Said/The Edge

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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 30): The procurement of the first batch of littoral combat ship (LCS) has been reduced from six to five vessels after the application to continue the project was discussed again by the government, Navy Chief Admiral Datuk Abdul Rahman Ayob said.

“Originally, it was six units of LCS, but when we re-applied and discussed the matter again, we agreed for the vessels to be reduced to five.

“The first batch has been set at five [units]. This decision was made sometime ago when the government decided to continue the LCS project [last year].”

He told reporters this after delivering his maiden speech after being appointed as the 18th Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) chief at Wisma Pertahanan here on Monday (Jan 30).

Also present were Deputy Chief of Navy Vice-Admiral Datuk Sabri Zali, Western Fleet Commander Vice-Admiral Datuk Abu Bakar Md Ajis, Eastern Fleet Commander Vice-Admiral Datuk Muhammad Ruzelme Ahmad Fahimy and president of National Centre for Defence Studies Vice-Admiral Datuk Zulhelmy Ithnain.

Abdul Rahman said the sixth supplementary agreement on the LCS project would be signed soon to enable the following process to take place and the construction to be carried out as planned.

“It is okay now. There is nothing surprising, and we hope we can get these vessels according to schedule [because] we lack high-capacity assets like the LCS.

“With the presence of LCS, it can help us to strengthen [our capability] and carry out our tasks with excellence,” he said.

In the meantime, Abdul Rahman said the procurement of the second batch of littoral mission ship (LMS) would be realised in safeguarding the security and sovereignty of the country’s waters.

“We hope the application can be approved this year to enable us to carry out the procurement process, with every vessel to take at least three years to complete.

“This time, we need LMS with combat capability. That’s a significant difference from the four LMS we’ve acquired from China. For starters, we requested three units [for the second batch],” he said.