Further Delays to First LCS

Dewan Rakyat speaker TS Johari Abdul, PAC members, RMN and BNS personnel posed for a group photograph behind LCS 1 PCU Maharaja Lela at BNS on October 5. TS Johari Abdul picture.

SHAH ALAM: The delay in nationalisation of Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS) is also causing a delay in resumption of work for the first LCS – PCU Maharaja Lela. Confirming this today in a press conference in Parliament, Defence Minister DSU Mohamad Hasan said work on the first ship will only start once the Finance Ministry takes over the shipyard.

He said the delay will be for several months.

“It should be (completed in) May 2026, but it is now delayed to September or October of the same year, with a delay in the agreement,” he said in a press conference today. For the schedule of the LCS project after the sixth supplemental contract signed in May, see the graphic below from the PAC report.

LCS schedule based on the sixth supplemental contract. PAC

He said that the construction will be done one ship at a time and the final one will be completed in the year 2029.

Once the first ship is completed, he said that it has to be taken from the dry dock to the harbour for four to five months of testing.

After that the ship will undergo the sea test. Once it’s passed the tests and the Royal Malaysian Navy is satisfied with the output, only then will it be delivered, he added.

Commentary:

The delay in resuming work is inevitable as it is likely that they wanted the work be conducted by BNS only after it is nationalised. This will prevent Boustead and LTAT be encumbered by any legal ramifications.

It appears that they also finally realised the folly of building the ships concurrently, presented previously as the best way to build the LCS in quick succession. This has been done before by other ship builders, but they only did it after the first ship has been fully tested and commissioned.

This is necessary as new builds – ships and planes, mostly – are always riddled with problems and challenges. Even Naval Group – the designer of the Gowind corvette – had not done it before. For a first-time builder – BNS – the decision to build all six ships concurrently was clearly an unwise and pricey decision.

— Malaysian Defence

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23 Comments

  1. Weirdly, final design can be completed by August 2024, but the downslip is set for May 2024 with Harbour Acceptance Test in November 2024. More worryingly, it seems the BNS design team is maybe not making any sense or confused. They say they have completed 96% of the design while Naval Group has reviewed 84%. The August 2024 due date for the final design seems to be for BNS’s work, not Naval Group. So BNS needs 14 months to complete 4% (report page 15 and 16)? Does that mean LCS1 will be completed without Naval Group verifying the final design? Another equally baffling decisions is, with BNS being nationalised, why would they rely on Liquidated and Ascertained Damages (LAD) to manage the project risks (page 63)? Lastly, nothing personal, disappointed that no one changed the program manager.

  2. I don’t know who is the moron that decided to build all 6 ships at one go but i believe by doing that they can claim money very easy as the payment is not progressive. So iisuspect it was a scam well planned & executed from day 1.Bypassing all the overseers & take that 6 billions. Only ppl with ministerial power can do this

  3. I’d like to know who actually decided to have all the ships constructed locally without BNS going through a learning curve; as was was done with the Kedahs. BNS had not constructed anything for years and most of the people who has experience working on the Kedahs were no longer there.

    I don’t know who made the decision but I know why : national interests and hubris.

  4. OOT…is that Mildef armored car really bought by our armed forces? Is that Mildef Tarantula’s contract really signed by government just stated by Janes recently? I just noticed that Mildef opened their new office here in Kuantan, just adjacent to Kem Batu 10 (home of 4th Mechanized Brigade).

  5. No, they will need Naval Group to verify the design. On the LAD, they said no further need for LAD as the project is nationalised. Why must they pay the government damages when the company itself is the government. Probably that is the reason the AGC did not sign off the agreement.

  6. Taib – “ to our esteemed MPs plus their corporate lackeys”

    Things don’t happen in a vacuum. Whatever any MPs and their lackeys did was enabled by the very system we have in place; one which we’ve had for quite a while now. The LCS lack of oversight; priority being with the local industry rather then the end user and taxpayer and procurement being part of the patronage system. The signs where there but there were no corrective mechanisms in place and MINDEF shares the blame too.

  7. Every military procurement in this world (not just us) is never about getting the best equipment for the best price. It’s always a balancing act to maximise the cost to achieve maximum socio, economics, & politics benefits both internally & externally.

    The LCS fiasco is not about we lack industrial capabilities but rather more towards managerial capabilities. But the biggest reason for the delay was politics both internally as we transition towards a multi party democracy as well as externally as PRC & US of A changed their tunes.

    To say we lack corrective mechanism is just isn’t true. The LCS delayed was because we correctly corrected the ship effectors & system due to the change in geopolitics. It if what people think correcting mechanism is buying things directly overseas to buy the best literal bang for the bucks. Then that’s just delusional thinking as no country on earth does that.

  8. By 2030 those specifications will be outdated .. even the missiles bought will be near expiry date. Basically we are paying for junks …

  9. @ mofaz

    What junks??

    NSM is the latest, basically the 5th GEN of anti-ship missiles. Way more advanced than 1970s based design such as Exocet.
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/FwywqbpaAAMuZcM.jpg

    VL MICA NG, similar size to normal MICA, but with the range of ESSM. This will only enter production in 2026. Can this be considered junk?
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EznZve8WQAESCB5.jpg

    CAPTAS 2 combined passive and active towed array sonar. How many other frigates in our neighbourhood that even has one?
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EDskQfqXYAU-9wS.jpg

  10. Zaft – “Every military procurement in this world (not just us) is never about getting the best equipment for the best price”

    Thanks for the revelation Einstein. Any more revelations like the earth isn’t flat perhaps or Martians didn’t make the pyramids of Giza?

    Zaft – “To say we lack corrective mechanism is just isn’t true”

    Notwithstanding what you say or think is true; looking at the past few decades of various cockups; it’s clear that we do lack effective “corrective mechanisms” not only with regards to defence but other sectors as well. We also lack effective oversight and check and balances because the way we run defence is reflective of various other things which have gone shite in this country.

    Zaft – “The LCS fiasco is not about we lack industrial capabilities but rather more towards managerial capabilities. But the biggest reason for the delay was politics both internally”

    You are going off tangent and indulging in obfuscation again. The cockup was a result of various factors which have been done to the very death here; ranging from a lack of prerequisites; hubris and national interests; lack of oversight; lack of seriousness; etc.

    Zaft – “It if what people think correcting mechanism is buying things directly overseas to buy the best literal bang for the bucks. Then that’s just delusional thinking as no country on earth does that”

    Before going into what’s “delusional” or not perhaps our sine thought into what you claim before making sensational bot flawed and erroneous statements. Like I said do some research and BTW take time to go understand what the subject matter is and what “corrective mechanisms” actually means.

    Lest you forget; you can go off tangent all you want; make all the silly claims you want but do try [unless you’re indulging in comedy here] do some research and understand the simple fact that priority must always be in getting the armed services the capabilities they need and ensuring the taxpayers get the best value for their money.

    Mofaz – “By 2030 those specifications will be outdated .. even the missiles bought will be near expiry date. Basically we are paying for junks”

    If you followed the reports most of the stuff won’t be obsolete; i.e. SMART and other things will be operated for quite a while more.

    Also you do realise [or not] that by and large missiles have quite a long shelf life which only is affected when missiles are actually at sea for long periods and you also have to look at what type of missile; i.e. AAMs can be affected by the vibration of flight and when they are actually activated. Also note that the MM-38s lasted us almost 30 odd years before they time expired and they were relifed a couple of times.

    So no; we are not investing in “junk”.

  11. …,

    He’s claiming – inaccurately – that by the time the LCSs enter service various things will be obsolete; he’s not questioning the utility of various things at present … Whilst certain things will have to be replaced – as mentioned in the PAC report – the bulk of components will remain fully operable and not obsolete or “junk” by 2030.

    … – “ than 1970s based design such as Exocet”

    To be pedantic; work actually started by Sud Aviation in the late 1960’s.

    …. – “ How many other frigates in our neighbourhood that even has on”

    To be a devil’s advocate; this only forms one element of the equation. The other being a ASW configured helo with the needed range, endurance and lift capacity [for a dipping sonar; sonobuoys and a pair of torps] for the time extensive business that is ASW. The helo would need to fly a distance to the target; spend time locating, fixing and engaging it and to fly back to the ship.

  12. Suspend or scraped this project, waste time n ppl money, just give what the navy want to build another ship from another sources..

  13. Another delay which not effect LCS status as a delayed ship and always back to talking than hammering.

    Scrapped it…just scrapped it

  14. Its good to be rather positive all the time..But not in this situation..Tender awarded on 2011,first ship launched on 2017 and expected to finish building on 2024 and handed over to 2026..Almost 10 years to finish a mere 110m frigates.Enough is enough.Politicians are always the same,before election “we will prosecute them all”, we will bring those involved to justice bs.

  15. Any reason why the Government isn’t willing to spend say RM200 million and ask Naval Group to complete the design work – instead of BNS design Naval Group review – or spent RM200 million and replace the BNS project managemen team with a Naval Group team? Nothing personal but seeing the same project manager still managing the LCS project today is not assuring given what was said by him in the latest PAC status update.

  16. No idea, really. That said the BNS CEO has been there since the start of the project, he was with the RMN before and was the RMN LCS project team leader.

  17. Far -“ just give what the navy want to build another ship from another sources”

    Actually what the RMN wants is to get the whole programme running; not to ditch the programme. Anything else will require another long delay..

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