SHAH ALAM: During DSA 2022, the Defence Minister announced that the government will fund the build of three Littoral Mission Ships (LMS) Batch II equipped with more sophisticated mission systems. This means that the LMS Batch II will be a more capable warship than the gunboats of which the KD Keris class ships really are all about.
I reported previously, the first initial RFI for the LMS Batch II was for ships up to 75 meters long, just slightly longer than the Keris class (69 meters). The ships will be armed with a 57mm gun, two surface to surface missiles, very short range air defense missiles and twin 30mm guns.
Last year, a number of shipyards received new specifications for the LMS Batch II which saw the length increased, now from 85 meter to 100 meters, a beam from 11 meters to 14 meters and a top speed of 28 knots.
The main 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). And at DSA 2022, Gading Marine promptly displayed a Sigma 9113 corvette design while Hyundai Heavy Industries displayed a photo of a 90 meter corvette as well.
Despite the announcement by the Defence Minister, it remained to be seen whether funding will be available as the government still need to pay for the elephant in the room. The LMS Batch II is supposed to be procured in two stages – three in RMK12 and another five in RMK13.
Can the first three LMS Batch II be procured for some RM1 billion then? It is possible as that will be the cost of the hulls and other systems only including the CMS. What about the others then – the engines, radars, missiles and guns then? Based on the RFP put forward, industry sources told Malaysian Defence that the items may well be the ones already purchased for the LCS.
It was because of this the rumours had started to gain traction that the only first two hulls of the LCS will be completed leaving the other equipment free to be used on the LMS Batch II. Though only four of the ships could be fitted with most of the items as the two of the LCS will still need the two 57mm guns and other equipment.
Will the government has RM6 billion to pay for the two LCS and three LMS Batch II then? Unlikely based on the amount of money allocated to RMN for the last two RMKs (around RM3 billion each). I guess we will have to wait and see then.
— Malaysian Defence