China Made Warships, Coming Soon?

SHAH ALAM: I have written in the past that there have been proposals for Malaysia to buy warships from China. The proposals include corvettes and multi-role support ships. And apparently the government is still keen about it though it has not yet wrapped up the deal.

Industry sources told Malaysian Defence that another Made in China proposal was floated recently, this time around a patrol vessel in the guise of the Littoral Mission Ship (LMS) as envisioned by the RMN 15-to-5 transformation plan.

The vessel proposed is to be around 70-metre, slightly smaller than the two training ships designed by DSME.

Under the 15-to-5 plan, the LMS will be the most numerous vessel in the RMN as it will be the cheapest to buy, operate and maintain. It will supplement the LCS and NGPV which will served as the backbone of the future RMN armada together with the submarines and MRSS.

Based on reports, around a dozen or so LMS are supposed to be built together with at least another 12 NGPV, four MRSS and two more Scorpenes.

Algerian Navy Adhafer corvette at berth at BCC in October, last year. Adhafer is the first C28A corvette for Algeria. www.malaysiandefence.com
Algerian Navy Adhafer corvette at berth at BCC in October, last year. Adhafer is the first C28A corvette for Algeria. www.malaysiandefence.com

Malaysian Defence report on the plan in March, this year.

RMN chief Admiral Ahmad Kamarulzaman Baharuddin said the 15-to-5 fleet transformation was part of its plan to strengthen and modernise its armada and be cost effective at the same time.

“If the transformation programme is endorsed by the government the replacement process will be done in stages. We will focus on building ships from the five classes harnessing the abilities of the local industry,”

According to Kamarulzaman, the LMS will be smaller, less capable and more importantly, less expensive than the LCS. It will be multi-mission ship capable of conducting patrols and other duties. Both the LMS and MRSS and the rest of the future armada will be locally built to reduce the procurement and maintenance costs.

Building locally was the main theme of the 15-to-5 plan. That is the reason they wanted more of the NGPV as the design is already owned by Boustead Naval Shipyard so it will be cheaper than DCNS-owned LCS.

Anyhow, as I reported previously, a proposal to buy China made warships – most likely the C28A corvettes ordered by the Algerian Navy, have been in the works in the last five years, which preceded the 15-to-5 plan.

The sources told Malaysian Defence that the plan to buy the two warships in the works for the last two years, was proposed by a group of businessmen from both countries supposedly to promote ties between Malaysia and China.

Senior defence ministry officials when contacted by Malaysian Defence confirmed the plan but declined further comment

The full report here.

Adhafer being assisted to her berth at BCC in October, last year. The rails on top of the bridge are only temporary safety measures. www.malaysiandefence.com
Adhafer being assisted to her berth at BCC in October, last year. The rails on top of the bridge are only temporary safety measures. www.malaysiandefence.com

Apparently the backers of the corvette deal are still at it as I have been told that progress has been made in the negotiations. As it is more mature than the LMS proposal, it is likely that it will get the go-ahead, according to my industry sources. When is the multi-million ringgit question.

The RMN, I am told, preferred the LMS as it fits nicely with its 15-to-5 plan. Whether or not this will be taken into consideration by the government is beyond me. As for the MRSS project, it has been shelved, I was told.

Algerian Navy corvette, Ezzadjer at Boustead Cruise Centre, Port Klang in July, 2016.
Algerian Navy corvette, Ezzadjer at Boustead Cruise Centre, Port Klang in July, 2016.

For the record, three C28A corvettes of the Algerian Navy made stop-overs in Port Klang as they sailed back for home, last year and this year.

With the 2017 Budget set to be announced in October, we will soon find out whether all the talk are real or not. And before I forget, Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Adha!

— Malaysian Defence

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