SHAH ALAM: Light At The End of The Tunnel. Although the government has agreed to the RMN’s 15 to 5 transformation plan, no further funds have been allocated apart from those for the six LCS.
RMN chief Admiral Ahmad Kamarulzaman Baharuddin says however the planning for two MRSS was on track and an open tender will be done to select the ship for the program though he admitted there was no timeline just yet for when funding will be made available.
The same goes for the follow on ships of the Kedah class. To reduce cost of the 12 more Kedah class, the navy wants to used as much components being fitted on the LCS as possible especially those already manufactured locally .
Asked whether this will mean the weapon systems selected for LCS will also be used on the new Kedah, Kamarulzaman says it was possible but stressed there were cheaper alternatives in the market though he did not specify their origins.
As for the LMS, Kamarulzaman said steel cutting for the first ship is expected in August though it could be brought forward in April. He was speaking at the keel laying ceremony of the third LCS at Boustead Naval Shipyard in Lumut on Dec. 17.
As for the LCS, the first ship of class, Maharaja Lela is expected to undergo harbour trials by the end of 2018.
BNS MD Tan Sri Ahmad Ramli Noor says they expect the ship to make its debut at Lima 2019 in Langkawi after completing its harbour trial. He says they were quite confident that it will be commissioned in the same year as per the contract with the government.
Work to outfit the Maharaja Lela was continuing although Ramli declined to specify the percentage of work done though it appears that her twins screws had been fitted. He however said work on the second LCS was 75 per cent complete. The keel for LCS 2 was laid on Feb. 28, this year.
The second LCS, now to be named after Raja Mahadi, the Selangor warlord who was largely responsible for the civil war in the state between 1867 and 1874, is expected to be launch in October, 2018. She is expected to be launched into the water as BNS had planned to fit most of her equipment prior to launch unlike Maharaja Lela.
Work on the third LCS, to be named Shariff Masahor is expected to be launched in 2019 while the keel laying ceremony for the fourth LCS is expected by late 2018. The third LCS is named after the Sarawak warrior who fought against the Brook White Rajahs starting in 1859.
After he was defeated, Sharif Masahor was exiled to Selangor where he sided with Raja Mahadi in the Selangor civil war. He died in Kerling, Selangor, in 1890.
Initially the second LCS was to be named after Sharif Masahor and third Raja Mahadi but BNS and RMN decided to swap them out. For the record the other LCS will also be named after warriors, originally the fourth one will Mat Salleh (fourth), Tok Janggut (fifth) and the sixth Mat Kilau. It is not known yet whether the names will also be rotated.
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