First LCS By 2025?

LCS PCU Maharaja Lela. Her name could be seen on the stern. Picture taken on Aug. 25. 2017.

SHAH ALAM: First LCS by 2025? In his wrap-up speech on the budget, Defence Minister DS Hishammuddin Hussein told Parliament today, that the RMN will take delivery of the first LCS by 2025. As that was the last line of his speech on the issue, it was unclear if it was just delivery or commissioning. Delivery means that the ship is taken out for trials before acceptance into service which is commissioning.

So there is a probability that the PCU Maharaja Lela will be commissioned into service in 2025 or otherwise (as I mentioned before) as the revival project has not been approved yet. Only when the government approved the revival plan, work on the ships could be restarted.

Another angle of the keel of the first LCS, most likely from the bow end when Hishammudin Hussein launched the first keel in 2016. H20 picture

Hishammuddin on the reason why to revive the project:

Well, we can’t look back anymore. What has happened turned out to be a considerable lesson for the Government. For the way forward, the revival plan will be tabled to the cabinet for approval. If approved, the target is for TLDM to take delivery of the first LCS vessel in 2025

The then Defence Minister Mat Sabu (with songkok) briefed on the LCS project during his visit to BNS in late June, 2019. Mat Sabu FB.

Looking at the speech text itself, it is interesting to note that Hishammuddin did not mentioned his own involvement in the LCS project – despite a lengthy brief on the background of it. It is also revealing that he used the reasons behind the delay of the project as stated by the next previous minister, Mohammad Sabu who told Parliament.

pada 29 Oktober 2019 telah menjelaskan 3 faktor yang menjadi punca kelewatan perolehan
LCS:
i. Kontraktor gagal siapkan reka bentuk dalam tempoh
ditetapkan
ii. Kontraktor lewat muktamadkan perolehan sebahagian
peralatan
iii. Kualiti kerja yang tidak ikut spesifikasi

The then Defence Minister DS Ismail Sabri being greeted when he visited the BNS yard in November 2020 to check on the LCS project. The LCS hull in the background looked appeared to be fitted with the propellers but without the rudder. Kementerian Pertahanan picture.

I am pretty sure Hishammudin was glad to accept the findings as it absolved him and others in the Najib administration of the fiasco. Hishammuddin also stated that the decision in 2019 to continue with the LCS project as approved by the PH Government then was agreed upon by the current government (and the previous one). He said they had no other choice to continue with the project as it was an important asset needed by the RMN as well as just as important to the vendors and their workers.

Egyptian Navy EL Fateh Gowind 2500 corvette.

Hishammuddin did not mentioned the RM6.1 billion already spent on the project as one of the reasons to revive it. He also did not revealed what was the revival plan apart that it was an inclusive plan which involved corporate restructuring and fund raising.

— Malaysian Defence

If you like this post, buy me an espresso. Paypal Payment

Share
About Marhalim Abas 1509 Articles
Shah Alam

40 Comments

  1. You were on point, nothing much that could be done about it….and I really doubt that government has “learnt” its lesson, time will tell.
    As the navy will be without (new) ships for up to 3 years, I am really hopeful that the MMEA plans for new hardware is approved. They have to pick up the slack in terms of patrols.

  2. What an absolute clusterfxxx.

    As long as we have programmes heavily driven by political considerations rather than meeting the interests of the end user and taxpayer, nothing will change.

  3. I thought someone said H20 was not responsible for this FUBAR and that he was just along for the ride, and supposedly ini semua salah Zahid wasn’t it?

    The final price of this project would be interesting and I think might be close to the actual valuation of the project cost.

    @ASM
    “MMEA plans for new hardware”
    MMEA are having problems of their own with the ships under build.

  4. Which part of this line you did not understand?

    I am pretty sure Hishammudin was glad to accept the findings as it absolved him and others in the Najib administration of the fiasco

  5. “and supposedly ini semua salah Zahid wasn’t it?”

    The whole idea of having them built here and approving eveything was during a time when Najob was PM and Zahid was the Minister. It’s really not hard to understand.

  6. Ahh, I was referring this:
    “The fact that building per see started during Hishanmudin’s tenure is of profound unimportance. ..he merely carried on with what had already been fully agreed upon.”

    But for PH not pinning the predecessor BN Govt for this issue? Something smells fishy or rather, froggy back then. Basically politicians from all sides (PH, PN, BN) are all pushing the blame onto BNS, whether justified or not.

  7. “What has happened turned out to be a considerable lesson for the Government.”

    LOL considerable lesson in your grave lah. No matter how big or small the lesson is/was, these people won’t learnt anything from it. We wasted 6 more years just to get 1 ship.

    “i. Kontraktor gagal siapkan reka bentuk dalam tempoh
    ditetapkan
    ii. Kontraktor lewat muktamadkan perolehan sebahagian
    peralatan
    iii. Kualiti kerja yang tidak ikut spesifikasi”

    H2O you forgot 1 thing, all of these risks and delays could be reduced if BNS was never selected as contractor to ‘design’. From insider source, it was BNS whose been contracted to design drawings for the enlargement of the Gowind. BNS, according to the insider, to begin with, never had that capability in designing and modifying a warship was tasked to do so as their first project. Instead of paying the French to do all the work, they wanted BNS to do it themselves.

  8. @joe
    “Basically politicians from all sides (PH, PN, BN) are all pushing the blame onto BNS, whether justified or not.”

    Well you can also say some PH and PN politicians where BN politicians back then during Najib time so not that surprised.

  9. “he merely carried on with what had already been fully agreed upon.”

    Which is correct. All the decisions relating to prices, worksharing, schedules, etc ,etc, were agreed upon when someone else was the Defence Minister.

    The new Defence Miniiter merely maintained the course.

  10. The MYR6 billion question is, how many will eventually be constructed. 1 in 2025? 1 in 2026? 1 in 2027? 1 in 2028? 1 in 2029? 1 in 2030?

    RM3 billion left in the budget, so on an initial RM9 billion budget for 6, does RM3 billion left means only 2 will ever be built?

  11. ”these people won’t learnt anything from it.”

    Because they have no incentive to; it’s soo entrenched in the system; average voter doesn’t care and it’s a reflection of our defence policy as a whole and the seriousness we take defence.

    ”H2O you forgot 1 thing, all of these risks and delays could be reduced if BNS was never selected as contractor to ‘design’. ”

    As a politician he will cover his ass as well as that of his party comrades. The fact remains the whole programme was the ”vision” of Najib and Zahid and they did what they did because our highly flawed system enabled it.

    ”Instead of paying the French to do all the work, they wanted BNS to do it themselves.”

    No revelation … Part of the self sufficiency improve the local industry cloud cuckoo land myth. In the first place the lead ship should have been constructed by Naval Group; enabling BNS to go through a learning curve.

  12. Launched 2017 expected to complete on 2025..8 years just to build a mere light frigate..follow up unit could take up to 15 years to complete..not to mention the cost/unit cost increase

  13. Here’s my take on the local naval defence industry at the moment. Kill it with fire. Bousthead is the only local player capable enough to produce major naval systems correct? And that is its just building and assembling all the patents and systems procured from global manufacturers.

    Government should just stop giving tenders to local companies. Local defence industry is never stable or sustainable enough to begin with. We have no aviation defence players, no capable naval players and nothing from STRIDE. Should only be giving land assets tenders and that is to DRB HICOM since so far they haven’t disappoint much. Hopefully after this the goverment will just conduct an open tender and have the naval assets be built at their respective overseas winner shipyards. If Bousthead wants to be anything in defence it should only be maintenence, that is if they don’t screw that up as well. Might lose some local jobs and talents but Im sorry for RMN more.

  14. @Luqman
    Which is why there will never be change no matter which side gets to rule. They are all the same, and no administration will change a system that puts them and keeps them in power.

    @Firdaus
    “Kill it with fire”
    As well killing purported job creation, business for local players, votes, & even possibly the election too.
    BNS isn’t the first & isn’t the last. Destini too has delayed deliveries to MMEA. The cycle continues.

    “open tender”
    Some here considers open tender a bad thing and G2G is the best, like LCS deal.

    “it should only be maintenence, that is if they don’t screw that up as well”
    They screwed up the last in-service support (ISS)

  15. From Padang Serai question, the minister insist that the entire project cost will not be more than RM9 billion. He reaffirms that those LCS will be equipped with the latest technology available. Is this even possible?
    From the RM6+ billion, any idea how much has been paid to vendors for the LCS systems and weapons?

  16. firdaus – ”Here’s my take on the local naval defence industry at the moment. Kill it with fire.”

    We need a deep rooted revamp of the whole defence policy; a genuine apolitical desire to learn and identify why and how we screw up. We also need a realistic and holistic appraisal of what we hope to achieve and what we actually can; based on the resources we have and in line with our threat perceptions. Also it won’t happen soon as there is no political will and the average taxpayer is indifferent towards defence. We also do not have a media and politicians who ask the right questions.

    Firdaus – ” If Bousthead wants to be anything in defence it should only be maintenence”

    The politicians approved everything based on their clod cuckoo land vision. BNS as a company naturally wants to generate revenue but there should have been a firm appraisal and oversight of what BNS was actually capable of. Given the right conditions there is no reason why BNS can’t deliver. In this case the whole programme was clearly beyond its means.

    BNS as the Naval Dockyard started out as a refit facility and that was a job it did quite well.

  17. Bye bye “LCS batch 1”. Welcome “batch 2”. About time TLDM start thinking of buying other ships straight from foreign yards to replace the incompleted units. That may hasten the introduction of the much required additional hulls into the service asap. For interim measurement, it will be wised to emulate TUDM move of getting the ISF from Kuwait, by trying to get some of the soon to be retired American LCS. We can say bye bye to the 15 to 5 dream as well. The more types and sources we have, the merrier it will be.

  18. ”They screwed up the last in-service support (ISS)”

    And they didn’t screw up dozens of others they and the Naval Dockyard [before that] has been performing since the 1980’s. It’s relative.

    The key issue – lest it’s overlooked – is that there should have been proper oversight in place; as well as sound/realistic decisions.

  19. Singapore managed to export their Fearless design for a second time, latest is to UAE for about usd240 million per ship. What about us? Well we just continue to cry ‘Made in Malaysia’, ‘support local workers and industries’, ‘flowing back to local economy’ like usual. It’s a shame we don’t want to collaborate with our neighbours on shipbuilding like for OPV as example.
    https://www.navalnews.com/naval-news/2021/11/singapore-st-engineering-wins-contract-for-falaj-3-opvs-for-uae-navy/

  20. Nah..LCS Batch 1 must proceed at all cost cuz 6 billions already paid..By no means a small amount of money..6 bill already paid are for 4 ships..another 3 billion for the remaining 2 ships or 1.5 billion pership..Let see how BNS will bulls*it their way out of this..Oh for BNS..dont just use a project fund to pay off your old debt fu*kers .

  21. No breakdown has been given of the money paid. But I have been told most of the overseas vendors got theirs already. Its the local ones that are not being paid. They tried to sue BNS to get the payment but the court decided against them

  22. lalok – ”About time TLDM start thinking of buying other ships straight from foreign yards to replace the incompleted units.”

    It’s the government which insists on local build; not the RMN …. The RMN cares not if ships are constructed in Pluto as long as on spec; on time and within budget.

    lalok – ”For interim measurement, it will be wised to emulate TUDM move of getting the ISF from Kuwait, by trying to get some of the soon to be retired American LCS.”

    That would be a silly move …. The USN’s LCS has almost zero commonality with our existing assets. We want to mitigate problems’ not make them worse. The RMN has reasons why it wants to reduce its logistical/support footprint and why its very wary of pre owned hulls. The Kuwait deal is not set in stone; plus theRMAF remains very wary of going down the aged owned route; due to long term costs issues.

  23. Marhalim,
    “No breakdown has been given of the money paid. But I have been told most of the overseas vendors got theirs already. Its the local ones that are not being paid. They tried to sue BNS to get the payment but the court decided against them”
    Good to know. Meaning we have paid for the then technology and will not get any latest technology when it’s installed onto those LCS as described by the minister. Hopefully, things will not get dragged into legal battles like the Samudera and further delay the built.

    Lalok,
    “For interim measurement, it will be wised to emulate TUDM move of getting the ISF from Kuwait, by trying to get some of the soon to be retired American LCS. We can say bye bye to the 15 to 5 dream as well.”
    Closest that came to mind were those new Brunei Nakhoda Ragam which we too hesitate to consider then. 😅

  24. Whether or not the issue will be dragged into court, I have no idea. The Samudera case was a different as the ships and the company facilities was charged to the bank. As the ships were the only valuable things left by the company, the bank then decided that it was worthwhile for them to list them as theirs. Of course in this case Mindef has the right to get it back. But in the case of the LCS, the vendors have their rights as well though it must be said another BNS creditor had try to get the court to declare it as the owners of their assets. To prevent this from happening, Mindef already stake their claim on all of the items at the shipyard as theirs as I had reported previously. As for the Nakhoda Ragam, I found out last year, RMN did not want the ships simply because they were built by BAE Systems, nothing else. So no attempts were made by RMN to seek the money for them

  25. Yes. The one issue with BAE Systems is that dealing with them over spares, documentation and other things costs a bomb. The pair of ships were also reportedly offered by their former owner at a premium price. An aspect we were not comfortable with was the lack of a hangar.

  26. As for me for stop gap we should upgrade all of our kedah fleets with newer main n navi radar,esm,fceo and cms and yeah try to fit them with their ffbnw stuff..6 sam n 4ssm will do for each ship..mistral sadral/lmm for sam and exo block 3 for ssm..i know i know its not an economical action but yeah as stop gap measure..desperate time calls for desperate measures

  27. What most people don’t understand is that the most important capability of the Gowinds is not their armament.

    It is their advanced submarine tracking capability with the Thales CAPTAS 2 towed array sonar.

    No upgrade of the kedah class could attain that capability.

  28. Firdaus – “As for me for stop gap we should upgrade all of our kedah fleets”

    This issue has been done to death with. With resources so tight, cash used on the Kedahs could be better used on other more urgent things like the LMS Batch 2s. Also, upgrading the Kedahs doesn’t do away with the fact there is a hull shortage.

  29. gonggok – “It is their advanced submarine tracking capability with the Thales CAPTAS 2 towed array sonar”

    That’s only half the narrative. What most people don’t understand is that Captas merely forms one element. Without a ASW configured helo with the needed legs, endurance and lift capacity the LCSs can’t effectively perform ASW.

    Captas merely enables detection. There has to be some other means of neutralising the threat from as far away as possible from the ship.

    Also the most essential part of the ship is really it’s level of networking, to enable it to opetate seemlessly with other LCSs, RMAF MPAs and UASs, etc, to maximise efficacy and avoid duplication.

  30. @gonggok
    “It is their advanced submarine tracking capability with the Thales CAPTAS 2 towed array sonar.”

    True. Our LCS would be the best ASW ship platform in ASEAN to date even SG and Indonesia could not match….until the Indonesians got their Italian FREMMs with CAPTAS-4/4C (probably) of course which on paper is twice as capable as CAPTAS-2. Yes I know some people will say coordination, crew training, jointness, communication, interoperability etc, we get it.

    Also, ASW helo is only a part of the narrative (I believe not half). What most people do not understand is that without the very long range detection and almost unlimited endurance a towed sonar array, ASW helo will just ‘blindly’ look for submarines outside of the ship’s hull mounted sonar (if there is any). Not to mention MPAs can do ASW as well though our MPAs might never get those capability at all.

  31. “Our LCS would be the best ASW ship platform in ASEAN’

    A generalisation based on a platform centric view. Depends on various factors. Does the ship in question have the ability to operate in tandem with other assets? Can it share sonar feeds with another RMN ship? Can it receive feeds from a RMAF MPA some 120NM away? Does it have an embarked helo with the needed legs, endurance, lift capacity and sensor/weapons load out?

    Just because a platform has a high end sonar doesn’t necessarily make it a capable ASW platform as various assets are needed and those assets have to work in tandem. Nothing works in a vacuum.

    ”What most people do not understand is that without the very long range detection and almost unlimited endurance a towed sonar array”

    Anyone with even a basic understanding of ASW would realise this. A sonar is merely the means of detecting sub surface contacts. To neutralise it would require a ASW helo – both a are needed; hence my statement that the sonar by itself is only half the narrative’ Self explanatory really; which leaves no room for doubt.

    ” we get it.”

    Gratified ….

    ”MPAs can do ASW as well”

    Actually, no. ASW configured MPAs hunt for subs at different ranges; in different operational conditions. An embarked ASW helo is organic to a ship; it’s main means of neutralising subs. Note that the trip torp tubes on ships are really self defence/last ditch weapons as to be within range; the ship is also well within range of being fired upon by a sub’s torps.

  32. ”What most people do not understand is that without the very long range detection”

    Do most people really not understand this or only the parts they wish to? Anyway; without a embarked helo with the needed legs, endurance, lift capacity and sensor/weapons load out; it would be pointless to just being able to see a considerable distance without actually having the means to do anything about it…. – again; which is why either one of the elements is merely half of the narrative. Also note that depending on the strength of the contact but also acoustic and other
    conditions; a sonar might be able to detect a contact but the means of actually acquire a firmer fix and to develop a solution for it to be engaged might require a helo getting closer. Also note that not not all operational scenarios might be conducive for a towed array; which is why platforms also tend to have hull mounted sonars and sub – in addition to towed arrrays – have flanlk arrays.

    ”almost unlimited endurance a towed sonar array,”

    No sonar; especially once which is active has ”almost unlimited endurance”…

  33. ” There has to be some other means of neutralising the threat from as far away as possible from the ship ”

    1) you can use helicopters

    2) you can use ASROC

    3) or you can use cheap small manned or unmanned ships that could carry and launch torpedoes away from the Gowinds. something a hostile submarine wouldn’t waste its torpedoes on that will betray its location.

  34. gonggok – ”No upgrade of the kedah class could attain that capability.”

    If it was felt that the whole exercise was worth the effort then it could from a engineering perspective be able to add a clip on array and to make the needed software and interface changes to the CMS. Note there was a proposal a few years ago to convert some of the Kedahs for ASW. The problem is that it’s simply not worth the expense and trouble.

  35. “you can use helicopters”

    That was the whole point of the discussion and goes back to my contention that a ship’s main means of neutralising a sub would be a helo and that it’s the helo together with the ship’s sensors and other things which enable an effective ASW capability, not any single capability.

    “you can use ASROC”

    You can but there’s a reason why the likes of Silex, Milas, ASROC and Ikara havent really caught on, with most navies placing faith on helos. If standoff means provided the answer their use would be more widespread.

    ” you can use cheap small manned or unmanned ships that could carry and launch torpedoes away”

    To engage targets as far as 50-100NM? No. The fact remains that in this context the most effective and practical means of engaging a sub would be with a helo. To engage targets further away would be where a MPA enters the equation.

  36. The idea of unmanned or surface platforms to undertake certain roles is great but the tech to enable us to do with unmanned surface platforms what is being done with UASs is simply not there yet. There are however conceptual studies being done by the USN where the sensors [which are highly vulnerable to detection] be mounted on a seperate platform. We are however moving into different ground here – as it is the subjective ‘learning to walk before running” cliche has been loosely and inacccurately applied in reference to mention of me of “jointness” and “networking”, both highly essential and not something beyond us.

    As the years go by we will eventually reach a point where UASs can used for ASW but we haven’t reached that stage yet.

  37. Looking bleak really..For sure per unit cost will go up to 2 billion perunit..can you guys imagine..Worse,BNS need another 3 billions just to complete 2 ship..Can you guys imagine 9 billions for 2 ships..I Cant siaa..Always rage and angry whenever LCS is mentioned..Tarnished the great namesake of Maharajalela and kinda bring shame to Perak Queen who launched LCS1 back in 2017

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*