Communications Suite for Lekiu and Jebat

SHAH ALAM: It was reported on Oct. 30 that the government had awarded a RM19.5 million to Boustead Heavy Industries Corp Bhd (BHIC) to supply and deliver a communications suite for Squadron 23rd Frigate of the Royal Malaysian Navy.

BHIC said the contract, valid for the next two years, was awarded to its wholly-owned unit, BHIC Defence Techservices Sdn Bhd (BDTS).

KD Lekiu launching a Sea Wolf SAM in an exercise in 2014. TLDM picture.

“A formal contract between the government of Malaysia and BDTS will be signed at a later date,” BHIC said in a statement filed with Bursa Malaysia. As I had missed the announcement on that day this is posted here for the record.

KD Lekiu (FFGH 30) passes by the US Navy submarine USS La Jolla (SSN 701) during a submarine warfare exercise at CARAT 2011. US Navy pix.

Today it was reported that BHIC shares at Bursa Malaysia was down after it reported that it had lower earnings in Q3. Of course one could find other ways to report the news.

KD Lekiu and Gagah Samudera as they prepare to dock at Pattaya. Nazir Darus

Malaysian Defence had posted other upgrades to both KD Lekiu and KD Jebat, which make up the squadron previously. Lekiu is currently in Thailand together with Gagah Samudera for the inaugural Asean International Fleet Review to be held in Pattaya this weekend.

A map of the ships taking part in the Asean International Fleet Review 2017.

It is likely the new communications suite was contracted to overcome obsolescence issues as the two ships were built in 1994 and 1995 just like the other new equipment recently acquired for them.

KD Jebat at LIMA 17

However, it is likely that the new items being installed on them are probably the last ones to be paid for in the near future. I was told that due to the 15-to-5 plan no more funds will be allocated for future upgrades. As you aware under the plan, RMN fleet of the future will only comprise of the LCS, LMS, kedah-class, the MRSS and the submarines.

KD Lekiu and KD Jebat sailed together with USS George Washington in Andaman Sea. US Navy picture

The Lekiu and Jebat will undergo periodic refits as scheduled but this will be only to ensure that they will be able to continue with their duties. The same is also expected for the other legacy ships in the navy including the Kasturi-class and Laksamana class corvettes and the FACs.

A model of the LMS displayed at the DSE show in Bangkok, recently.

This is expected as the navy ramped up its 15-to-5 plan. The government cannot afford to buy new ships while at the same time funding new things on RMN older ships. How this is will be managed is beyond me, however.

— Malaysian Defence

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