Down to Five LCS only

A rendering of a Meko A100 by TKMS.

SHAH ALAM: Down to five LCS only. Newly appointed RMN chief Admiral Abdul Rahman Ayob said today that the government has only approved the completion of five LCS only. He was speaking to the media after giving his first message as the 18th RMN chief.

“Originally we were supposed to get six LCS but after we put forward the plans to restart the project, the government reduce the number of ships to five only,” he added. Abdul Rahman said the reduction in ships was made by the government when it decided to continue with the project.

He said the sixth supplementary contract will be signed soon allowing the resumption of the project.

“We hope the project will be carried as soon as possible and the ships will be delivered as on schedule,” Abdul Rahman said without saying when the first ship was supposed to be ready for delivery.

Defence Minister DSU Muhamad Hasan recently said the first ship was expected to be delivered by the third quarter of next year.

Commentary by Malaysian Defence

The reduction to five LCS was in line with what Prime Minister DS Anwar Ibrahim had said about the LCS last August when he was the opposition leader. He was quoted as saying that it was better if the government stopped the sixth phase of the project as it has not started yet. Malaysian Defence had erroneously stated Anwar calling for the cancellation of the whole project when he did not do so. Why five? As work has not started on the sixth ship though the steel for it has already been cut and paid for. The steel is now stored at the Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS) in Lumut along with the other equipment for the five ships.

It was unclear however whether the reduction to five LCS was made by Anwar as the PM and Finance Minister as the RMN chief did not say it out clearly. The decision to resume the LCS project was made originally by the Mahathir government and later confirmed by the Muhyiddin one. This was further affirmed by the Ismail Sabri administration and now by Anwar himself. I am guessing that the decision to reduce the LCS numbers to five was made by Anwar though. I stand to be corrected, of course.

Interestingly, Abdul Rahman did not say and was not asked whether the government had allocated extra budget for the LCS project. We all know that the RM9 billion ceiling contract will not be enough to complete even five ships. It is not enough to complete even two ships really, as the subcontractors are already owed some RM4 billion already and the government has only some RM3 billion left for the project. We have not been told how much money is needed for BNS yet. During the PAC hearings (some two years ago), BNS stated that the project will cost some RM11 billion, some two billion more than the original cost.

With the latest developments, I am still of the opinion that we should just scrap the whole project and start anew with a new ship programme using the equipment already procured for the LCS (guns, radars, missiles etc), we just need to pay for the hulls and other machineries. Yes, we will be throwing some RM6 billion worth of LCS. But at least we will know when the ships will be delivered.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2147 Articles
Shah Alam

37 Comments

  1. After all the commotions about the movie, now there will be no ship named KD Mat Kilau (which is supposed to be the sixth Gowind frigate)

    Scrapping the Gowind, then go for the Korean Frigate will be a plan that has the highest possibility of being completed on-time (as only Koreans have the mindset to do so). HDC-3100 is a 3,100 ton warship costing around USD 250 mil each. For six, that is USD 1.5 billion or RM6.375 billion (at 4.25 exchange rate). If we could supply most of the weapons, radars, guns on the ship, probably the cost per ship could go down to USD 200 mil each.

    But political-wise, i don’t see the government going to put BNS under the bus.

    As almost all the hardware needed to complete the 6th Gowind is already available, just put out a tender for other shipyards in malaysia to complete the build of the 6th ship. Lets see if other shipyards in malaysia could finish the 6th Gowind in shorter time and less cost than what BNS could achieve. I believe shipyards such as MMHE, Grade One, Labuan, Berjaya Dockyard, Shin Yang etc. all have the capability and infrastructure to build the Gowind.

  2. One of the major cost of shipbuilding is R&D cost thus Korean ship are only cheap if it ordered together with Korean equipment & weapons as there’s no R&S cost involved. You started mix & match & it won’t be cheap anymore.

    Asking other shipyard to complete just the last LCS is risky as the shipyard never goes through a learning curve as BNS did and the risk of late delivery & increase cost will rise.

  3. Most of the weapons nowadays are basically plug and play really, it’s not like we are putting a super duper ray gun or something. It’s just the 57mm Bofors with a slightly smaller foot print than the 76mm gun usually put on South Korean ships. As for the NSM as long as the data and power cable are installed it will also be good to go. It’s the same with the search and fire control radars. The only issue we may have is the CMS as the Koreans may insist on installing a Korean made one like they did with the Philippines. It is a good enough CMS but without Link 16 datalink

  4. hulubalang – ”(as only Koreans have the mindset to do so).”

    Not the ”mindset”. They have the ready designs; production capacity; manpower, etc.

    hulubalang – ” I believe shipyards such as MMHE, Grade One, Labuan, Berjaya Dockyard, Shin Yang etc. all have the capability and infrastructure to build the Gowind.”

    I too ”believe” so but ultimately all have never constructed a naval vessel of that design, displacement and complexity.

  5. Since PMX is in good relation with Erdogan of Turkey, maybe can consider to get the F142 Dearsan frigate for LCS phase 2.

  6. I disagree with scraping the project. Just finish the damn thing and sue this company till they go broke. You know what, I’m so pissed that I’m just waiting for someone to do something stupid at the shipyard and wreck the entire place apart.

  7. Akmal – ”sue this company till they go broke.”

    Brilliant idea. Should we lynch the top management and machine gun the rest too?

    As the country’s largest naval refit yard; what consequence will it have for the RMN if BNS goes ”broke”? Also; has it not occurred to you that it isn’t solely BNS’s fault that things went ratshit? Would be easy if we could lay all the blame on BNS but we can’t….

    Akmal – ”You know what, I’m so pissed”

    Before you get ”pissed” why not look at all the reasons [there are many] why things turned out the way the did; who is responsible and in what way a combination of things/people resulted in shite flying in multiple directions.

    Muzz – ”Since PMX is in good relation with Erdogan of Turkey”

    You aren’t the first to harp on this supposedly ”good relation” thing. Erdogan has ”good relations” with a lot of people but ultimately anyone with a serious desire and the funds can buy stuff; don’t necessarily need ‘good relations”.

    Tom Tom – ”Maybe get a 6th ship as a flagship”

    And pray tell what is this ”flagship” supposed to do in parallel with the other 5?

  8. Azlan – “I too ”believe” so but ultimately all have never constructed a naval vessel of that design, displacement and complexity”

    I am talking specifically about the 6th Gowind. Right now it is just a big jigsaw puzzle ready to be welded.

    MINDEF can float out a tender specifically to assemble the 6th Gowind out of all the available parts. The winner can start building the hull 1st while waiting for BNS to complete the detailed designs. Then just follow the completed design to finish the ship. With this we can compare the efficiency of BNS and other shipyards in Malaysia. No naval design expertise should be involved with building the 6th Gowind. BNS downfall is that they are pushed to do both build and design, with the design part something they have no experience of.

    Now with better and improved ringgit exchange rate this year, should there be a comparatively bigger budget for the LCS program when compared to 2022?

  9. Marhalim,

    I mean to complete the 6th Gowind. Maybe ask BNS they will charge a fortune, but why not ask other shipyards (through tender) in malaysia to complete it? All the pieces and hardware is already there, just waiting to be built.

    If you calculate your budget in 2022, the USD exchange rate was 4.6

    Now its 4.25 and still going down.

    Should there be some additional ringgit left due to less payments (due to exchange rate) for foreign suppliers, Naval Group and what not?

  10. The way they are doing the LCS, the only way money for the 6th LCS will be decided upon will be in 2025 and beyond. Anyway I am doubtful whether they can complete the five by 2025. It looks more likely in 2030, really

  11. So In the end how much more BNS need to complete all 5 ships? or even to complete the first ship? We cant have a 111m ships that will cost us/the govt more than myr 2 billion perunit right?..That slashed 1 unit maybe to mitigate that missing 1 billion which 400m from that were used by BNS to pay their old debts..

  12. AFAIK cost have been sunken into the 6th unit; steel has been cut and in storage, equipment, sensors & other systems have been bought, weapons & munitions too have been bought (except VL MICA). So arguably whatever “savings” will come from unrealised labour charges to build the 6th unit which imho should not cost a significant chunk of a ship’s price.

    So going from a “need” of minimum 6 units down to 5 units and suddenly that is okay with TLDM, but without any actual cost savings since the Govt still has to add more money anyhow, plus everyone parroting the words of Anwar to reduce cost, just screams to me of yet another political kowtowing and I’m not surprised as I said as much earlier https://www.malaysiandefence.com/2023-defence-budget-could-be-lower/

  13. Agree with Marhalim. Just scrap this program, start with anew one, the LMSII perhaps?The quicker we start,the better. Stop gap measure? Anymore RN type 23 to be retired? I think having two of these type 23 will do, for 2-2 1/2 years.

  14. Hulubalang – ” With this we can compare the efficiency of BNS and other shipyards in Malaysia.”

    We can only really ”compare the efficiency of BNS and other shipyards in Malaysia” if when the next time around we decide on local construction; it does not go to BNS by default and other yards get the opportunity to compete on merit…

    Hulubalang – ‘BNS downfall’

    It’s ”downfall” is that it’s part of the rotten system in which substance doesn’t count and political mileage and revenue are the main drivers.

    Hulubalang – ”that they are pushed to do both build and design, with the design part something they have no experience of.”

    BNS neither had the ”design” or build” experience… The last time it engaged in building was years ago with a workforce mostly gone and on a much less complex/ambitious undertaking.

    Hulubalang – ”No naval design expertise should be involved with building the 6th Gowind.”

    You make it sound like assembling a Lego set. Assembling anything will also require expertise and other things on the part of the selected yard. Also; on paper it’s simple but alas we are talking about the real world here. Getting another yard to assemble the 6th hull – a hull intended per contractual obligations to have been completed by BNS – involves a lot of bureaucratic/legal paper work.

    ” I’m not surprised as I said as much earlier https://www.malaysiandefence.com/2023-defence-budget-could-be-lower/

    Of course you would have …

  15. Pyan – ”Anymore RN type 23 to be retired?”

    With the resources we have you figure we can afford to run them? There is a reason we never expressed an interest in them years ago.

  16. i am not agree with u,marhalim! this lcs project should be continued for our navy.an essential project.i am positive lst rmn lcs will be completed by next year.

  17. “involves a lot of bureaucratic/legal paper work”
    Not so as simple. It would also need to be an appropriately size one, a yard that does only tugboats would not fit a frigate.

    It would also have to be located in a well/easily secured area as warships should be treated separately from civvie ships (it has weapons and sensitive equipment, plus security from espionage & sabotage).

    The personnel & staffs that interacts with the build would also have to have security clearance that means thorough background checks.

    The Govt would also then have to spend extra money to upgrade that yard too, recall that a chunk of LCS budget went to upgrading BNS yard so the same if go another yard, more money wasted.

  18. I just wait for Budget this Feb and see how this administration allocate & spend for security & defence.

  19. “separately from civvie ships (it has weapons and sensitive equipment, plus security from espionage & sabotage).

    The personnel & staffs that interacts with the build would also have to have security clearance that means thorough background checks”

    You make it sound as if we’re processing depleted uranium or that it’s a facility where STRIDE is producing a ICBM.

    Granted security is an issue but it’s the least of the problems which are bureaucratic, legal and financial.

  20. Imbalance – “in bns we trust”

    “In the politicians and bureaucrats we trust” because the are the ones who make policy and the decisions. They are the ones which enable the conditions in which shite flies in multiple directions and the armed services and taxpayer gets shortchanged.

  21. Damn…no body has the ball to canceled this program because it will drag many important people. Even realistically the LCS project even if finished and delivered will not give deterrent as big as it was planned. It will become a moving monument of corruption, mismanagement and incapability of MY as a nation even though the bandits was only several prople.

  22. Damn…no body has the ball to canceled this program because it will drag many important people. Even realistically the LCS project even if finished and delivered will not give deterrent as big as it was planned. It will become a moving monument of corruption, mismanagement and incapability of MY as a nation even though the bandits was only several prople.

  23. Joe

    There are shipyards in Malaysia that is bigger and better equipped than BNS Lumut

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/FnsfAoxaQAEX70s.jpg

    Tender for just the assembly/build. Lowest bidder gets it. If your yard needs upgrades to be able to do it, disqualify.

    If security is a concern, then tender the work just up to the launch in the water condition. Tow and fitout military equipments back at BNS.

  24. Romeo – “no body has the ball to canceled this program because it will drag many important ”

    It goes beyond that… It involves BNS going bust [the country’s largest naval refit facility], companies going bust, an even greater delay for t be RMN and a clear political admission that our defence policy is shite.

    Romeo – ” even though the bandits was only several prople”

    Incorrect… The “bandit” is the whole system which enabled the “several people” to bugger things up. If we had the proper oversight and check and balances the “several people” would not have been able to do what they did and MINDEF and the politicians would have placed the interests of the RMN and taxpayer first.

    Again : how the whole programme was handled is a clear reflection of various other things in this country which have gone ratshit.

  25. “You make it sound as if we’re processing depleted uranium”
    And I’m sure just about any Tom, Dick & Harry can jolly walk into a police/TDM armory /S.
    There should be certain level of security & confidentiality when dealing with defence equipment matters.

    “In the politicians and bureaucrats we trust”
    In the rakyat votes who puts them in place we trust.

    @hulubalang
    “shipyards in Malaysia that is bigger and better”
    Thanks for your sharing but it doesn’t seem big enough to fit 5x 111m long frigates under built. Capacity & capability is also important.

    @romeo
    “no body has the ball to canceled this program”
    And suffer the same fate as ATM SPH after M109 cancellation? Even TLDM despite all that happened, would not want that.

  26. “And I’m sure just about any Tom, Dick & Harry can jolly walk into a police/TDM armory /S.
    There should”

    And the point you’re making?

    I’ve been in BNS and STRIDE. Every car car leaving STRIDE has its boot checked and not ” any Tom, Dick & Harry can jolly walk” [to quote your goodself] in.

    I may not be an expert but I’m aware of some of the security precautions that are needed and which we undertake; including vetting foreign workers which enter the base.

    The question was never about the need for security but the fact that security will be the least of the worries if another yard assembles the 6th hull. Also, at this juncture there is hardly anything revealing or hush hush about the level of work being undertaken with the LCS. The main or most sensitive issue FYI would be the selected codes needed for various things and frequencies; only known to the RMN.

    “There should be certain level of security & confidentiality when dealing with defence equipment matters”

    If you’re actually aware of instances where there isn’t; please by all means do share.

  27. “And the point you’re making?”…
    “security will be the least of the worries”…
    “please by all means do share.”
    Disagree. When selecting the yard, a secured location that is appropriate to handle the sensitivity of defence equipment is as important as anything else. You seem to be undermining the importance on handling of defence gear. For someone who is/had related to the service, that attitude is appalling. Since you know STRIDE has security checks on the way out you should find out why.

  28. Before GE15 I remember PM X saying he will cancel LCS (which I am really happy for), but now that have not happen. I am sure PM X should know that starting a new project using a more affordable hull (Type 31e, HDF3000, etc) with the lessons ‘learned’ from LCS project. If PM X really care about rakyat money, I think he should do so. Of course canceling another big project can also scare more foreign investors and thus lowering ringgit some more. Though I still stand with Marhalim regarding cancelling the LCS.

  29. Joe,

    That shipyard is bigger than BNS.

    Take a good look at that picture, and see if you can find the Kedah-class ship

    I am also talking about assembling just 1 ship, the 6th gowind that is still not yet built, not all of them.

  30. ” You seem to be undermining the importance on handling of defence gear.”

    You “seem” to be unable or unwilling to understand the issue I’m driving at.

    I repeat whAt I said earlier :
    “The question was never about the need for security but the fact that security will be the least of the worries if another yard assembles the 6th hull. Also, at this juncture there is hardly anything revealing or hush hush about the level of work being undertaken with the LCS. The main or most sensitive issue FYI would be the selected codes needed for various things and frequencies; only known to the RMN”

    “For someone who is/had related to the service, that attitude is appalling.

    I think it’s “appalling” that you’re going around in circles and giving the impression thAt security is not an issue for me or that the main issue with another yard assembling the 6th hull would be security. I also think it’s “appalling” that you make it sound as if I dismissed the need for security. Again: I merely said in simple vocabulary which leaves no room for obfuscation that the main challenges will be bureaucratic and legal; not security.

    “Since you know STRIDE has security checks on the way out you should find out why”

    I actually know why but I’ll leave it at that and like various things you seem to be [or think you are] better informed. BTW the STRIDE facility I was referring to is the one located within the base adjacent to BNS.

  31. BNS is the largest naval facility in the country but it’s not the largest yard per see in square feet or build up area.

  32. When the Navy wants to build a warship, they will do what they do on security matters. It is understood that precautions will be taken by the Navy. Also the 6th hull is about funding. If in 2030 the economy is booming at a 5-year average growth rate of 8% and 5 LCS was successfully delivered, then BNS may get the 6th order (perhaps more). Better to discuss whether the 5 LCS and the delivery schedule is real.

  33. “Disagree.”

    Of course you would but do you even realise what you’re supposedly disagreeing about?

    “When selecting the yard, a secured location that is appropriate to handle the sensitivity of defence equipment is as important as anything else”

    It won’t happen but if it does – again.- the main hurdles will ensuring the yard can do the job. Any security arrangements can and will be implemented.

    You’re all gung ho about security but it isnt as if others are clamouring over themselves to get intel pertaining to the assembly of a hull or as if crucial software integration and other things are also done there.
    It also isn’t as if anyone said security isn’t vital yet you have the gall to say you’re “appalled”…

    With BNS; anyone with a telephoto lenses has a clear view of the yard and base; what security you moaning about? Security breaches we’re worried about lies with cyber security, HUMINT and other things; not someone entering the yard unauthorised as if it’s Dimona or sneaking something out. Also, within military facilities there are multiple layers of security.

    As has been mentioned also: there is nothing about the LCS or Gowind which others are so desperate to get their hands on with the exception of software codes and frequencies which are only known to the RNN and will not even be in the yard.

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