Keel Laying Ceremony for Third LCS

LCS PCU. Maharaja Lela. Her name could be seen on the stern.

SHAH ALAM: The keel laying ceremony for the third Littoral Combat Ship is scheduled on December 18 at the BNS dockyard in Lumut. Malaysian Defence has reported that the ceremony will be held around this time in the posting regarding the launch of the first LCS, Maharaja Lela in August.

The LCS major equipment detailed. RMN graphic

As the ceremony is for the third LCS, BNS is expected to start working on the other three ships in the near future. For more on the LCS, check out Malaysian Defence archives for such stories. That said some of the earlier stories were lost following the server failure two years ago.

Part of the LCS3 keel seen in a hangar at BNS.

Anyhow in the earlier story I mentioned that parts of the third LCS were already being worked on at BNS facility during the launch of the Maharaja Lela.

LCS naming survey.

As for the names of the LCS, based on the above, the second one will be called Shariff Mashor, the third Raja Mahadi, Mat Salleh (fourth), Tok Janggut (fifth) and the sixth Mat Kilau. Some people might disagree naming the ships after persons but I guessed this was taken consideration when they decided on the names. That said Maharaja Lela was actually a title given by the Sultan of Perak in the past to his warlords as a norm deguerre for a judge, jury and executioner. Indeed an apt name for a warship.

Part of LCS 2 module seen in another hangar at BNS

As I am planning to go to Lumut for the ceremony on Monday, perhaps I will get some updates on the LCS in particular and the RMN in general. I am not saying I will get something but I will try.

BNS workers posed for pictures with Maharaja Lela at her launch in August, 2017 The workers are under strict order not to share the pictures of the ship during the construction.

Those who want to see the LCS and the BNS facility at Lumut, can do so by taking the regular ferry service from Lumut to Pulau Pangkor. Choose the ferry with the open rear deck and you will be richly rewarded. You will also get to see the RMN Western Fleet headquarters and the ships docked there.

The new hangars (far right) and gantry crane at BNS added specifically for the LCS program.

Be advised though that Maharaja Lela and the LCS 2 are usually placed under the huge hangars at BNS as the workers continue to finish them as such you might not be able to see them. That said the ships are moved in and out from the hangars periodically for other work to be done so you have just have to count on your lucky stars to spot them, if you do take a ferry down to Pangkor Island.

— Malaysian Defence

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27 Comments

  1. On the navy

    – are they willing to share the plans for lekiusnd kasturis after the SGPVs are operational?

    – future of laksamanas after decomission. Sold? Give back to Iraq?

    – updates on plans for KD Hang Tuah. Did they look at HTMS Pin Klao during the Pattaya ASEAN Fleet Review recently?

    – updates on LMS

  2. Some infos on the gowinds

    – confirmed for the SGPV is the hull sonar would be the kingklip mk1. This is the same sonar as on indonesian SIGMAs.

    – UAE gowinds to be fitted with ESSM instead of VL MICA.

  3. used to work at pangkor and the view of RMN base is good.on one time get to see submarine .
    glad to see LCS program in good condition. wish to see the KD Maharaja Lela on sea soon.
    on the 18,hopefully we can get news on LMS soon.

  4. There should be a continuation of this program past the 6 and it should be announced within this one year in order to make the necessary preparation. Ideally, it should be a minimum 4 new orders in order to ensure economies of scale and continuation of the cost structure. The 4 should be in service circa 2023 to 2025 and should be paid off partially by the Kasturi’s class retirement plus maybe the laksamana. Hope fully it will be an enlarged version of the LCS with an Anti Air Warfare role using Aster 30 or Aster 15

    Reply
    The navy already said it wants 6 more, so that should be the minimum number ordered. I personally prefer that they increase the order to another 12 with six more of the bigger AAW version ordered. We should just skip ordering a new batch of Kedah class

  5. 12 more?? That is a cool 4.8 billion dollars…

    IMO it would be good to have at least 4 more as 1 to 1 replacement of the kasturi and lekiu. These to be a general purpose frigate without towed sonar but with ESSM (as planned for UAE Gowinds) and 76mm gun (stealth cupola as UAE Falaj 2 corvettes). The kedah batch 2 to go for only 6 more ships, with the current 6 to be upgraded and retained to 2050++. The kasturis can be offered to friendly countries, maybe to bangladesh or colombia (which has 2 sister ships to the kasturis). The Lekius could also be offered for sale after the 1st 6 SGPV is operational to consolidate the fleet types, it would be a great quick addition to a navy with british naval ship experience (oman, bahrain, chile maybe?)

    So 4 more SGPV Gowind @ usd1.5 billion, plus 6 more Kedah batch2 @ usd1 billion. Just usd2.5 billion.
    Giving 2030 fleet of
    10 SGPV Gowind
    12 NGPV Meko
    3 SSK Scorpene (+1 more)
    4 MRSS (2 LPD + 2 Multi role replenishment version)
    LMS68 + LMS-B as per my prior guest posts.

    Btw the laksamanas slep cancellation and decommisioning is partially paying for the LMS.

  6. I think we’d have to actually pay for anyone to accept the Laksamanas; given the state they’re in. Their only value is as scrap metal : the hull is worn out, generators and engines worn out and the bulk of the 1980’s/90’s systems on board are no longer supportable.

    The plan is to retire Hang Tuah as soon as the 2 training ships are fully operational.

    By right, future LCS will offer improvements but will be based on a common design, i.e. the Gowind. That was what was planned with the Kedahs but we all know what happened with that. If indeed there is serious intent – on the government’s part – to have follow on LCS, as Marhalim pointed out, why do we need follow on Kedahs? The only reason would be lower spec, cheaper – compared to the LCS – Kedahs.

    kamal – ”Hope fully it will be an enlarged version of the LCS with an Anti Air Warfare role using Aster 30 or Aster 15”

    Which would entail a longer range radar compared to SMART S and a higher level of connectivity with other assets.

  7. Ok probably returning them to iraq is a bad idea…

    BTW on the Kedah Batch II

    Probably we can revisit this discussion. Now with hindsight, with the LMS is a chinese based ship, my idea for a Kedah class equipped with chinese equipment is not so far fetched.

    http://www.malaysiandefence.com/4626-2/

    If we can get a new kedah class for around usd160 million per ship, then it would be feasible.

    Btw look at the performance of the Fl-3000N missile. It shot down a YJ-8 (c-802) anti ship missile successfully.
    http://www.malaysiandefence.com/another-perspective-lms-2/#comment-292115

  8. ….,

    We have been through this subject a number of times : the Laksamanas are in bad shape and have been for quite a while. Not only are there issues with the hull but various other systems are no longer supportable. The joke within the RMN was that the class was FAC – GPMG; in reference to the fact that the 76mms could not be fired due to inoperable fire directors; not to mention similar issues with the CMS, radar, generator, etc, etc. Crews had little confidence in the 76mm/RTN-10X combo and even designating targets for Aspide was problematic [to understate things].

    I won’t comment about Ecuador’s ships or their upgrades but ours were a problem from the very start – things never performed as advertised and the class was just not suited for our requirements; which is why the RMN recommended against buying it; in short the RMN and taxpayer got screwed. I mentioned this ages ago when you were talking about upgrading the class – an upgrade was indeed looked at by the RMN but it was decided that a full upgrade would be a waste [a case of pouring good money after bad] and that the cash could be better used elsewhere. Why would Iraq [or anyone else for that matter] want such aged, worn out and maintenance intensive ships fitted mostly with 1980’s vintage systems?

    On the future Kedahs, it depends on how we fit them out. If we fit them out similarly to the 1st batch then obviously there will be integration issues with COSYS, TRS-3D and Rohde & Schwarz comms suite and the Chinese gear. Having a first batch with German stuff and having a 2nd batch with different, incompatible systems would be a bad and silly idea.

    Before we even go into what to fit them out with, perhaps we should first speculate what roles they’re intended to perform, between the LCS and the LMS. On paper they will be ”higher spec” than the LMS but ”lower spec” than the LCS but what roles do they play and would the RMN be better off having a follow on LCS batch [assuming there are funds] instead? If we have follow on Kedahs but are unable to fully fit them out due to funding then we’re better off going for additional LMS. Also, will the 2nd batch be a mirror image of the 1st or will there be improvements in the design, internal systems, etc.

  9. @…

    So 4 more SGPV Gowind @ usd1.5 billion, plus 6 more Kedah batch2 @ usd1 billion. Just usd2.5 billion.

    You sound like the navy have an infinite amount of money on their pocket. Money don’t grow on tree and even if their do grow on tree it would worth as much as normal leaf. The national budget is not so green right now so the navy and the whole armed force have to make do what their have right now. Please think rationally.

  10. Feel sorry for the Kedah-class, suffering the middle-child syndrome. Planning for them are always on the back-burner. With the LCS and LMS trickling into service, could one of the Kedahs maybe be spared to be a tentative test bed for improvements/new systems intended on the Kedah Batch 2, like when undergoing midlife upgrades?…

    I personally think the LCS is too costly to be employed in large number, most tasks could be more economically carried out by the Kedahs & LMS, plus the potential of having more hulls will give more flexibility to the navy. After the 6 LCS are completed, I think the navy should focus on LMS and completing arming the Kedahs, additional LCS order/delivery should be work out over a longer timescale, to reduce financial burden of purchasing and operating high end (by RMN standard) asset, at the cost of the other programs.

    As for off-loading the Lekius, maybe we can turn to our neighbor who bought the rusting ex-Brunei Nakhoda Ragams, lol.

  11. “There should be a continuation of this program past the 6 and it should be announced within this one year in order to make the necessary preparation.”..agreed with Kamal on this. Skilled manpower can be retained, materials can be pooled earlier.

  12. @ Meh

    The current 6 gowinds cost usd 2.4 billion. My idea is cheaper than the Navy’s plan for 6 more gowinds and 12 NGPV, or marhalims 12 gowind idea. Why i am the one who is irrational?

  13. There is absolutely no doubt that there should be a follow on to the first initial 6 LCS; we all seem to agree on this and the RMN wants to go in this direction but when will funds be available? Will it take another 10 years before a follow batch is ordered? That’s why I’ve never discussed selling the Lekius or Kasturis as both are still relatively ”young” and are ”supportable” – unlike the FACs, Laksamanas and Hang Tuah – and there is no indication as to when we can have enough LCS to talk about any premature Lekiu and Kasturi retirement.

    In the interim we are getting 4 LMS. No doubt they won’t be armed with SSMs but they’ll be a vast improvement over the aged FACs; in terms of sensors, range, endurance and sea keeping. Whether the concept of mission modules will be a success for the RMN is something only time will tell.

    As for getting more Kedahs; on paper it’s a sound idea but what will the Kedahs do and can we afford to fit them out they way the RMN wants? And how much cheaper will the Kedahs – if fully fitted out – be compared to the LCS? Due to inflation and other factors; systems ordered for the Kedahs in the late 1990’s [i.e. TRS-3D] will cost more now. Yes we can have have lower spec Batch 2 Kedahs but that will defeat the purpose. Lest we forget, there are certain aspects with the initial Kedahs that the RMN isn’t pleased with; will follow on Kedahs feature any improvements?

    Another vital point is that follow on Kedahs shouldn’t differ greatly with the first 6 with regards to systems, sensors, etc, as this will increase our logistical/support footprint : it’s bad enough that the LMS will probably enter service fitted with systems with ZERO compatibility or commonality to what we currently have. Also, if the roles follow on Kedahs are expected to perform can be done by the LMS [lower end roles that don’t call for a high spec platform]; it’s cheaper to buy more LMS which are also cheaper to operate and support. It all depends not only on funding but what the RMN sees it requirements are and whether those requirements will change in the near future.

  14. Oh one more thing to ask tomorrow….

    The navy’s ASW helicopter plan for the Gowinds…

    Reply
    Only if I get an exclusive

  15. Personally, I don’t see the need for RMN to order further Kedah’s or even LMS. This is because in my logic, MMEA is already being tasked for the constabulary role and EEZ patrol. The upcoming 3 OPVs and the current 6 Bagan Datuk class is much cheaper to construct and operate compared to the Kedah’s and even LMS. As such it would be better financially in the long term for RMN to concentrate on combat assets rather than patrol assets. As a bean counter, it would be finacially ideal if RMN main fleet consists of 10 LCS, 3 submarines, 6 ASW heli and 6 ASuW heli plus the necessary support tankers, training, replenishment etc.

    But then again, real world is much more complicated than that

  16. @…

    The government will not just give the navy money to procure additional batch of LCS or Kedah class that easily. The government​ need to balance the budget for other sector (health care, education, infrastructure, law enforcement and so on). If budget is tight than the government will certainly cut defense budget for other thing.

    Plus even if the navy got the money to procure additional batch of LCS, the cost for operate and maintain, crew training and salary and replacing ‘expired’ ammunition and missile still require a lot of money.

    And last thing, our country is depends on foreign investment, trade and tourism. If suddenly the 1997 economy crash happens again while we have all this fancy warship, the navy might put most of it in storage just like Russia after Soviet Union dissolve or like the recent submarine explosion happen in Argentina because the government don’t allocated enough money to the Navy to keep the sub safely.

    You saying that 4 more LCS and 6 more Kedah class for just 2.5 billion USD seem like the government have the money to give the navy. And please don’t put random number for the cost of building it. Ever heard of inflation?

  17. @ Azlan

    IMO we will have “enough” LCS (which i think should mean on par with the current strength) when all 6 are completed, which in itself will be the most number of frigates TLDM have ever. Those 6 ships (in like 3-5 years time) will need at least 700 new sailors to man those ships, if Lekiu and Kasturi would still be around when all 6 ships are completed. The Laksamanas are to be retired and replaced 1 to 1 with the LMS, so those men are to move to the new LMS.

    As for additional kedahs, those should be a higher priority than additional LCS if those ships can be completed at 30-40% of the LCS cost and be fully armed with SSM unlike the current Kedahs. But a total 12 should be enough, unlike 18 that the 15 to 5 plan wants. A meko 100 less weapons and electonics build in europe can be had for usd100-120 million. Dont goldplate it and put in radars (smart s mk2 is about usd6-8million), guns (5-6million), AShM and close in SAMs it is possible to build them cheaper and better than the current Kedah class. And this would require more men too, as is additional gowinds.

    Even with 10 Gowinds, 12 kedahs, 3 scorpenes, 4 MRSS , 9 LMS68 and 17 LMS-B (the 15 to 5 plans for 12 gowinds, 18 kedahs, 4 scorpenes, 3 MRSS and 18 LMS) it would still make the TLDM one of the best equipped navy in south east asia.

  18. I think everyone is forgetting that Kedah class are intended for ASW?

    Reply
    They need modifications to the hull and new equipment for ASW, which are not cheap.

  19. … – ”Dont goldplate it and put in radars (smart s mk2 is about usd6-8million), guns (5-6million), AShM and close in SAMs it is possible to build them cheaper and better than the current Kedah class.”

    We can’t have a situation where follow on Kedahs – even SSM armed ones – have a lower sensor/SA capability than the initial 6 and both can’t differ too much in terms of sensors/electronics fit as this will enlarge our support footprint. If the intention is not too have ”gold plated” follow on Kedahs or to have Kedahs with inferior capabilities to the initial 6; then it defeats the whole purpose of having more Kedahs and we must as well settle for more LMS. Thus my earlier question : what roles are the follow on Kedahs expected to perform and can those roles be performed by cheaper to buy operate and support [i.e. LMS] ships?

    Also, even if we go for follow on Kedahs that have cheaper or lower spec sensors than the initial 6 but are fully fitted out for say ASW or ASuW; I fail to see how these can be cheaper than the initial 6 and that’s before taking into account inflation and other factors. Another factors is whether certain technical issues with the initial 6 will be rectified on the follow on ones?

    Kamal – ”As such it would be better financially in the long term for RMN to concentrate on combat assets rather than patrol assets.”

    In an ideal world yes. Just like how the army should ideally be focusing on combined arms maneuver operations against potential peer or near peer adversaries and ensuring it has the needed C3 and logistical infrastructure to support such ops; rather than patrolling the Thai and Kalimantan borders and spending so much focus in ESSCOM against non state actors when ideally the General Operations Force and other police units should be doing. Irrespective of whether the RMN has to perform peacetime constabulary roles; it still has a need for a ”low end/”high end” fleet; hence the requirement for LMS and follow on Kedahs to perform roles that don’t call for a LCS or Lekiu.

    Meh – ”If suddenly the 1997 economy crash happens again while we have all this fancy warship, the navy might put most of it in storage just like Russia after Soviet Union dissolve or like the recent submarine explosion happen in Argentina because the government don’t allocated enough money to the Navy to keep the sub safely.”

    I get the point you’re trying to make but the situation faced by the Soviet Union differs greatly and even during the 1997 crisis we never placed anything in storage. What we did was delays refits, cut down on exercises and other cost saving measures – in common with other navies facing budgetary issues; even Tier 1 ones.

  20. @ azlan

    The Kedah’s are supposed to be OPVs with the emphasis on offshore, while LMS are are to be for littoral areas of esscom, melacca straits and middle rocks. The Kedah’s have longer endurance and have helicopter capability.

    As for the cost of kedah opvs, see my previous posts. You don’t get an empty ship with usd300 million like the current kedah’s. Just look at china’s P18N opv (usd42 million) or Phillipines Hyundai HDF-3000 frigate (usd215 million).
    https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Rf2JgSyvKEQ/WHTQ1F16vLI/AAAAAAAAArY/7OaTBid0GQUF5ghbX3lzzQIUOvKHFy1EACLcB/s1600/15966042_848982201871093_890994494222275731_n.jpg
    I really believe even with same radar (TRS 3D) and FCR(TMX/EO mk2), plus SSMs and SAMs, we can get a new batch of Kedahs for usd150-170 million each.

    Reply
    As you are aware the Kedah class cost are mostly due to the previous owner of the shipyard. He probably billed the government for all the things without buying them in the first place. Hence we paid twice for each ship. If its that correct, the ships actually cost around $150 million each though I admit it could have been even lower. He was not pursued as it will probably revealed where the money he skimmed was actually used for. I was told the reason but as I don’t have any proof it actually happened I will not repeat it in an open forum.

  21. trafalgar – ”I think everyone is forgetting that Kedah class are intended for ASW?”

    That’s news to me. How?

    No sonar [the obstacle avoidance sonar doesn’t count], COSYS needs software upgrades and hardly any deck space for a pair of triple top tubes. How are they intended for ASW? Initial plans called for the Kedahs [27 over a 16 year period] to replace the Vosper Keris, Kedahs and Sabah class; to perform the same type as roles with more serious stuff performed by the Lekius and Kasturis. Plans called for them to be fitted with 4 SSMs and RAM but never for ASW gear.

    … – ”The Kedah’s are supposed to be OPVs with the emphasis on offshore, while LMS are are to be for littoral areas of esscom, melacca straits and middle rocks”

    On paper a LMS can still perform the roles you mentioned in the places you mentioned – given our operating requirements and geography there’s nothing to say that a LMS can’t perform the roles you mentioned in reference to the Kedahs. For several decades we’ve been operating FACs and PCs for roles they were never intended to perform and here we’re talking about LMS with superior range, endurance and seakeeping to the FACs and Vospers. Also, the RMN is not planning to get more Kedahs to perform OPV type roles …… If follow Kedahs are inferior in sensor/SA capability to the initial 6 then it defeats the whole purpose of ordering more and we must as well go for cheaper to buy, operate and maintain LMS.

    … – ”You don’t get an empty ship with usd300 million like the current kedah’s. Just look at china’s P18N opv (usd42 million) or Phillipines Hyundai HDF-3000 frigate (usd215 million).”

    Steel is cheap. What’s not cheap is what goes inside the hull. We have a very good idea what went into the first 6 Kedahs but we have no idea as to what went into the ”P18N opv” and ”Hyundai HDF-3000 frigate” – one get what one pays for.

    Also the final price of a ship – as released by the OEM or customer – depends on various factors. Just because the PN got a frigate for ‘x’ million [I know you’re fond of quoting prices] doesn’t give us an accurate gauge as to how much future Kedahs will cost due to varying reasons.

  22. @ marhalim

    Off course im aware of the issues with the previous owner of what is now BHIC. But i really don’t want to go there in my discussions. That is why i always stress that new batches of Kedah can be realistically built at 30-40% of Gowind’s cost even fully armed.

    As we now have a separate coast guard, the Kedah’s and LMS must be able to do something that the coast guard doesn’t do, which is to fight. It must be armed to take the fight to those who intend to fight, be it pirates, terrorists and other hostile forces. If moving forward the Kedah’s and LMS are of similar operating performance as the MMEA OPV and NGPC, might as well give the budget to MMEA to buy more OPV and NGPC instead.

    Anyway, eagerly waiting for your report from Lumut.

  23. @ azlan

    I have done quite intensive research on this previously

    http://www.malaysiandefence.com/4626-2/

    – Meko A100 build in europe costs around usd 100-120 milion without electronics and weapons. With low labor costs it is possible to do it in malaysia with a usd 100 million limit. Compare also to MMEAs 1800tonne OPV is only usd55 million complete (yes it is a different ship but you don’t say 2x the cost cannot get you a bare meko hull with similar displacement).

    – electronics. Thales supplied the complete CMS, Radar, FCS, ASW sonar, communications suite for indonesian SIGMA corvette for usd 33million.

    – Guns. Oto melara 76mm costs around usd 5 million. Hyundai-Wia version half of the price of oto melara.

    It is perfectly doable for usd 150-170 million. If it can’t be done, then give the budget to MMEA to buy more damen 1800 OPV instead.

  24. …. – ”I have done quite intensive research on this previously”

    Yes, like me, I’m sure the others here are also aware of that by now.

    The reality is that the final costs of any ship is determined by not only the paper prices of the particular systems or pieces of equipment but also other factors.

    … – ”If moving forward the Kedah’s and LMS are of similar operating performance as the MMEA OPV and NGPC,”

    Which is precisely why I said first we must ask what roles follow on Kedahs are expected to perform, whether they’ll have superior or inferior sensors/weapons compared to the initial 6 and whether the roles they are intended to perform can instead be performed by the LMS. IF follow Kedahs are inferior in capability to the first 6, then buying a follow on 6 is pointless as the RMN will get more hulls but not hulls with the desired capability to adequately fill the gap between the ”high end” LCS and the ”low end” LMS.

  25. “It is perfectly doable for usd 150-170 million. If it can’t be done, then give the budget to MMEA to buy more damen 1800 OPV instead.”

    Fully agree with …

    The MMEA needs more funds but the Navy is playing too much politics and sucking too much money from the Government. IMO, the Government should focus on the MRSS and modernizing the MMEA fleet (whose average fleet age is around 30 years old, methinks…)

    Reply
    The navy got to do what its feels right for its purpose. It cannot be thinking what others might want or otherwise. It’s up to others in this case APMM to get what it wants. But my guess its finances are it is as it is a small fish in a big pond, the pond here being JPM.

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