Well I have been told that the original budget for the LMS II was something around RM2.5 billion (RM312 million per ship) for the whole project. That was the reason the ship was supposed to be around 80 meter long, armed with guns, surface to surface missiles and MANPADs. Its basically a pimp up Keris class without any involvement of China.
From the budget allocated we know that the LMS Batch II will cost some RM1.2 billion more from the Keris -class ship. The Keris class was supposed to cost RM1.17 billion but it was cut to RM1.048 billion (RM262 million per ship), after a review by the then PH Government. The four ships were also built in China instead of two there and and another two in Malaysia as off the original plan.
Now, the new plan for the LMS Batch II which is supposed to be fully armed (though SAMs are still to be fitted for but not equipped) have seen the original budget (RM2.5 billion) meant for the first three ships, to be built during this RMK. The other five is expected to be build in RMK13 with an expected cost of RM4.1 billion. That is the reason the ship’s specifications have been tweaked so it will be a hull from 85 meter to 100 meters, a beam from 11 meters to 14 meters and a top speed of 28 knots.The armament is similar to previous smaller design – a 57 mm main gun, two SSMs, a VL SAM or VSHORAD (Fitted For But Not Equipped) and twin 30mm guns (could be a CIWS type).
With a budget of RM2.5 billion, the fully equipped LMS Batch II should cost around RM833 million per ship which is still lower than the average price of 900 to 2500 tonnes corvettes, according to AMI International, a defence consultancy had said. AMI stated that average cost of such corvettes for the last ten years is around US$250 million (around RM1.05 billion) per ship.
Could we get a ship around 2500 tonnes for less than RM1 billion? If we get the hull and its equipment below RM500 million, of course we can. But the bigger question whether the government can afford it especially with the current world economic environment with many people predicting a world wide recession is coming.
Furthermore, with the government need to pay RM3 billion for the LCS in this two RMKs, will be any more money to pay for LMS Batch II?
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