Keel Laying and Steel Cutting Ceremony for LMS

The keel laying of the first LMS in October, last year. Mindef.

SHAH ALAM: Keel laying and Steel cutting ceremony for LMS. Defence Minister Muhammad Sabu was on hand to witness the keel laying and steel cutting for LMS 1 and 2 at Wuhan, China today.

The keel laying is for the first of class LMS while the steel cutting was for the second vessel.

The ceremonies were held on the first day of Muhammad’s four-day visit to China. As you are aware the RMN is getting four LMS with two of the vessel constructed in China while the other two will be build at the Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS) in Lumut under a technology transfer program.

The keel of the first LMS. Mindef.

The steel cutting for the first LMS was conducted on July 31. According, to the Defence Ministry, apart from the LMS factory visit, Muhammad is scheduled to attend the Eight Beijing Qiangshan Forum to be held in the capital city Beijing.

Muhammad with other guest at the ceremony.

Muhammad is scheduled to present a speech entitled Terrorism Threats and Countermeasures on Oct. 25 at the forum. During the visit, the minister is also scheduled to meet with high ranking Chinese defence officials to further boost collaboration between both countries.

Muhammad being shown the steel cutting for the second LMS.

The minister visit to China coincided with the start of the inaugural Asean-China Maritime Exercise. Seven ships are taking part in the exercise in the waters off Zhanjiang, China. During the exercise the participating ships will apply the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) to conduct search and rescue ops.

Sailors from Asean and China at the opening ceremony of the exercise. Singapore Mindef.

RMN only sent observers for the exercise as it is also involved in the trilateral Aman Youyi 2018 being held between Malaysia, Thailand and China. The exercise which focus on peacekeeping operations and enforcement is being conducted starting from today in and on the waters off Port Dickson.

Soldiers from Malaysia, China and Thailand posed for a group picture after taking part in a live firing exercise at Port Dickson. The soldiers faces are blurred as they are Special Forces operators. Joint Force command.

Some 1,417 personnel from the three countries are involved in the execise. China has the biggest personnel with 785 with two ships – a destroyer and a frigate – and two naval helicopters while Malaysia is represented by 585 personnel, two ships and two helicopters with 93 soldiers from Thailand also taking part.

–Malaysian Defence

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29 Comments

  1. Judging by the picture, that Chinese shipyard look very modern. I thought it would look more like Bousted shipyard. Maybe I’m just a little bias toward China. Still overprice ship.

  2. Curious. Do we know what specs, armament, or a confirmed layout of these LMS? Unlike LCS, we don’t seem to have much info on them.

  3. Yes, the yard looks very modern. Looks even more advanced than many yards in Europe. Definitely, much more modern than any shipyard in Malaysia.

  4. Joe,
    I believe a Chinese CMS (JARI-CMS?) with a low/medium altitude search radar (most probably operating on X band) and an EOD. Also an ESM.
    Weapons will most possibly be either a 30mm or 37mm auto gun as the A gun and 2 manual 12.7mm HMG at the back. No missiles though. Essentially a gunship with a FFBNW arrangement for SSMs.

  5. joe,

    Marhalim has reported on this before. The RMN has publicly stated that these ships will enter service fitted only with guns. The rest will come at a later date, if at all. From a RMN perspective, the idea is to have new ships into service ASAP to perform various peacetime duties that are currently being performed by ships well past their retirement date.The fact that these ships will initially only be armed with guns [Chinese ones] is secondary and is something the RMN is willing to live with. As cash is an issue it was planned to get various Chinese components fo the 4 ships.

    The main problem with doing this is that although it leads to short term savings, in the long run there will be penalties. We’ll have to create a separate shore support infrastructure and the Chinese stuff will have zero commonality with we we already have – this defeats the purpose of the 15/5 which – amongst other things – is intended to reduce the RMN’s logistical footprint. Another problem is that if a Western CMS, radar or other stuff are selected; these will have to be integrated with the Chinese gear – time and money needed. With a change in government however it remains to be seen if Chinese gear will be bought.

  6. Api69 & Meh,

    How does one define ”modern”, especially from just looking at 2 pics?

    I’ve been in BNS once [and the Swan Hunter yard in the 1990’s] and from the one pic posted here of the Chinese yard; BNS doesn’t look ”more advanced” or ”more modern”. Sure, we can speculate that the Chinese yard has better or more advanced equipment than BNS but we can’t determine that by the 2 pics.

  7. Not sure why people would imagine that a Chinese shipyard is anything like a Malaysian shipyard. Remember that at this point, the Chinese are capable of building aircraft carriers, while the Great Russian Bear cannot. In fact if there’s any arm of the Chinese military which is making real leaps and bounds in technological development, it is their Navy.

    Nonetheless, I believe that this LMS is another mistake, leading to yet another rojak fleet phenomenon, despite TLDM’s best efforts.

    As such I hope that this (as usual) overpriced LMS can stop at a 4-ship class, and we’ll just re-tender for another LMS that uses more common equipment and is cheaper. Then pump out as many of those as we need.

    Maybe these LMSs can eventually be refitted to use more common weapons etc too.

  8. ” The RMN has publicly stated that these ships will enter service fitted only with guns.”
    Yes, but what guns? 20mm? 37mm? 40mm? 50mm? And how many? And are they slewed via CMS? Which model of CMS or does the ships even have any CMS?

    The ships would come with modular containerised system, but which system would they be using? StanFlex? Or does China uses such modular system in their ships?

    Nobody seemed able to confirm this unlike the more open specs that was reported for LCS.

  9. Also to remind the Menhan on the cost of this chinese LMS.

    Each of this LMS68 costs USD68 million each.

    APMMs larger OPV costs only USD56 million each
    http://www.malaysiandefence.com/keel-laying-for-mmea-opvs/

    PT PAL built SSV LPD for the philippines cost USD46 million each
    https://www.janes.com/article/65256/sealift-vessel-for-philippines-indodef16-d3

    Not to mention the larger chinese built P18N OPV is just USD42 million
    http://en.mercopress.com/2015/02/05/china-to-supply-argentina-five-malvinas-class-offshore-patrol-vessels

  10. “Nonetheless, I believe that this LMS is another mistake, leading to yet another rojak fleet phenomenon, despite TLDM’s best efforts.”

    True, the Laksamanas of our time. Except with unknown development costs for an undefined fit out still due and with the possibility of follow on units.

  11. Chua – ”Not sure why people would imagine that a Chinese shipyard is anything like a Malaysian shipyard.”

    It would depend on the yard, the type of yard and how busy it is: lots of Chinese yards in existance. Just because a yard is Chinese doesn’t automatically mean it’s better equipped than BNS. One thing’s for sure; firm conclusions can’t be made merely by looking at a couple of pics.

    Chua – ”Nonetheless, I believe that this LMS is another mistake”

    It had no choice. It urgently needs new hulls in the water and can’t afford to wait. The only solution was to go Chinese. Even then; the 5/15 met stiff bureaucratic opposition and only intervention from the very top enabled its implementation.

    Chua – ” while the Great Russian Bear cannot.”

    Not because of a lack of technical expertise but because of funding issues and the need to devote resources to other areas.

    Chua – ”As such I hope that this (as usual) overpriced LMS can stop at a 4-ship class”

    If the other class is fitted out differently then the 15/5 won’t be the 15/5 anymore.

    joe – ”Yes, but what guns? 20mm? 37mm? 40mm? 50mm?”

    The RMN will want to stick to a calibre it currently operates; thus it will probably be 30mm, The graphics released also clearly shows a 30mm mount.

    joe – ”Which model of CMS or does the ships even have any CMS?”

    Most probably a Chinese one.

    joe – ”Nobody seemed able to confirm this unlike the more open specs that was reported for LCS.”

    For the very simple reason that the RMN hasn’t announced it and that a lot of the stuff that’s supposed to go on it hasn’t even be finalised yet. That’s why …..

    joe – ”The ships would come with modular containerised system, but which system would they be using? StanFlex? ”

    StanFlex is a Danish system so we can rule that out. Various Western companies offer various modular payloads but pricing will be an issue and so will integration if a Chinese CMS is selected. The easy way out is to go for a Chinese designed system but the key question is are there any Chinese companies which currently offer modular ASuW, MCM and ASW payloads?

  12. @Azlan
    “are there any Chinese companies which currently offer modular ASuW, MCM and ASW payloads?”

    Yes! That’s what I am pointing at! AFAIK no PLAN ship uses such modular systems nor any Chinese companies are developing such. Even if they exist, such systems are most probably still on the drawing board and thus untested or even proven viable. Furthermore, can more modules be designed and integrated locally? Too many questions, not much answers.

    BTW, the CGI done is decent. Hopefully all of the details gets materialised but i won’t hold my breath over how accurate it is, unless TLDM confirms on it.

    Reply
    The CGI of the LMS posted on Malaysian Defence are all from the RMN though as usual the final product might differ from it. All the specifications and equipment of the LMS as used in Malaysian Defence are all sourced from RMN. If I got it from the chief I will quote if it’s used for the first time and exclusive to Malaysian Defence. If I used the same thing on another post I will not quote him as this might infer that I had spoken to him again. If you don’t want to trust me or want to refer to other pages that’s up to you.

  13. The yard went for several weeks preparation prior the visit. Objective is to impress and to convince our minister that China yard is reliable and this something not aware by our local manufacturers. The appearance and physical looks can give significant impact the way of clients thinks about us.

  14. Built them and passed them to the APMM. TLDM shall focus on the SGPV and LPD(PT PAL Makassar?). And more Super Lynx with anti-sub capabilities.

    I am one for streamlining and build on what we already have.

  15. joe – ”That’s what I am pointing at! AFAIK no PLAN ship uses such modular systems nor any Chinese companies are developing such.”

    I would be surprised if no modular mission payloads currently exist in PLAN or are under development.

    joe – ” thus untested or even proven viable”

    The main issue is actually integration and how capable [performance wise] those systems are in comparison to Western equivalents. We are talking about miniaturised systems installed in a container and hooked up to the ship’s CMS – no rocket science there as far as testing and validity goes. The question is whether going down that route will work for the RMN. Some navies have embraced modular mission modules/payloads; some haven’t.

    Wan88 – ”Built them and passed them to the APMM.”

    The RMN is in acute need of new hulls to partly replace the aged and increasingly expensive and trouble to maintain FACs and Laksamanas.

  16. I cannot read like 10 of the latest post replies however many times i refreshed my browser. Am I the only one having this problem?

  17. @Marhalim
    I have never said that your reporting is inaccurate and if I had inadvertently implied that, then I do sincerely apologise.

    However, I’m not the only one having doubts about the fitment on the LMS and more worryingly the modular systems to be used. Unless its based on a tried and proven system like StanFlex, any others are still unknown. Their module performances are unknown, their reliability are unknown, their cost comparison with dedicated systems on separate ships are unknown. Too many unknowns for something so new to us. The LMS capabilities hinges on the modules performances and if they fail to deliver on that promising idea, then this ship class is just an overpriced gunboat. Its the various modules that will make this class stands out as a multi-mission flexible ship.

  18. @Azlan
    “Not because of a lack of technical expertise but because of funding issues and the need to devote resources to other areas.”

    Actually the Russian technical expertise to build a carrier, even a small one, is really in doubt. That is why they had to contract out to France for the Mistrals – because they aren’t able to do it in-house.

    @Azlan
    “If the other class is fitted out differently then the 15/5 won’t be the 15/5 anymore.”

    Let it be 15/6 then. It’s better than having what, 20 boats which operate on a different tech base than the whole rest of the Navy, and overpriced and unfamiliar equipment to boot.

  19. Most important thing in this LMS program is TOT and job for local shipyard. China’s shipyard will build 2 units the others will be built by local shipyard.

    I have said before local defense industry stiil need “tongkat”. Bousted has no skill to design and build their own opv. If Bousted initially has skill to build opv then china’ involvement is not needed.

  20. Azlan,

    Just from the second picture you can see a lot of CNC steel processing equipment. That robot arm could even be an automated welding robot for full penetration joints. Only CNC equipment at BNS are 2 pipe bending machines. BNS bought a welding robot that could climb the vertical shipside and do full penetration welding but I believe these were only used for the construction of the NGPVs. And the cleanliness and upkeep is equal to the best European yard. So, from just 1 picture I can already make the conclusion that the Chinese yard is more superior in equipment than any yard in Malaysia. Only one that comes close would be the MMHE steel processing workshop.

    As to the containerised module, I believe the containers (if fitted) would be self contained modules with electrical and maybe fresh water/sea water connection to the ship. There would not be any electronics integration at all. This is similar to the proposal from BNS a long time ago for the Multi Role Vessel based on the Fast Troop Vessel. Not sure if the large MRV model is still there in the BNS Admin Building.

  21. In order to be able to deliver in the timeline stated, there is no way any western equipment will be installed. The ship will definitely be installed with proven Chinese equipment that have been integrated on other ships before.

    Good luck to the RMN! Another legacy from our previous Prime Minister! LOL….

  22. Chua – ”Actually the Russian technical expertise to build a carrier, even a small one, is really in doubt.”

    You could be right but they first built carriers years ago. A main problem is funding and the need to focus elsewhere. If one wanted to be pedantic; the Mistral is not a carrier per see and the Russian yard that could have built it was in bad need of an upgrade in facilities.

    On the question of Chinese yards gong a long way; sure they have – I pointed this out in response to the doomsday prophets here who claimed we shouldn’t buy the LMSs as they will be of poor quality. In general however we have no idea as to how all the latest PLAN ships are in quality built or DC standards compared to Western equivalents. To be fair; compare what they churned out as recently as 3 decades ago; i.e. the RTN’s Jianghus. Badly designed, poor welding, almost zero DC, etc but compare therm to what the RTN later bought – big difference. A lot also depends on how much a customer is willing to spend.

    Chua – ”Let it be 15/6 then. It’s better than having what, 20 boats which operate on a different tech base than the whole rest of the Navy,”

    I had previously pointed out that the 15/5 has a very uncertain future : a change of leadership, changing priorities, etc, may lead to it suffering a natural death. Another problem with the 15/5 [despite it on paper looking sound as it creates savings and increases the logistical/footprint] is that there are various factors beyond the RMN’s immediate control. For the RMN, it was either the LMS made in China and not fully fitted out or no new ships for the foreseeable future.

    Api,

    If you say so. I however stand by what I said in that one can’t make hasty conclusions merely looking at a couple of pics; especially if one does not has detailed info on what BNS has or hasn’t; in order for a direct comparison to be made.

    Given that many Chinese yards are in a better financial position than BNS and have a busier order book; I suppose something would be horribly wrong if they didn’t have better equipment than BNS. On the other hand; what BNS has will suffice as long as it has what it takes to construct the LCS.

  23. Api – ”The ship will definitely be installed with proven Chinese equipment that have been integrated on other ships before”

    That’s not good enough. What eventually goes on the LMS and what’s ”integrated on other ships before” can be 2 very different things. The fact remains that if we decide to buy certain things Western and certain things Chinese; funds will still have to be spent on integration and certification.

    Api – ”Another legacy from our previous Prime Minister! LOL….”

    True but then it has also been gifted legacies from another ”previous” PM; as has its sister services.

  24. @ azlan

    No need to complain about the equipment on the ship is not good enough. To me the whole concept of that chinese ship is not good enough for the LMS mission for the price that we are paying for it. The chinese has made lots of great ships for good price. This LMS would be a great basic patrol boat, but should not have cost USD68 million per boat.

    IMO we should leave all peacetime patrolling to APMM while TLDM concentrate on strengthening its core competencies like ASW, amphibious warfare and other warfighting capabilities.

    http://www.malaysiandefence.com/apmm-plans/

    http://www.malaysiandefence.com/another-look-rmn-15-to-5/

  25. BNS has enough tools and equipment to build the LCS. Takes the same equipment to build the NGPV anyway. Main observation is the tooling and degree of automation, which in turn contributes to the build duration and work quality. Hope all turns out well on the LCS, although news I hear isn’t that great…..

    As to the equipment fit on the LMS, with the short build duration, I hardly believe much Western equipment will be installed. I was told that the original offer from the Chinese had all China equipment, including the CMS, the gun, etc. Maybe some platform equipment might be western, such as the main engines (MTU I believe).

    Legacy from previous PMs? Such as the Laksamanas? Hahaha!

  26. On the topic of LMS 1

    What can the LMS contribute to HADR situations like the lion air crash?

    On the topic of LMS 2

    A system that i would like to have on the LMS, the Spynel-X IRST/optical radar has been selelected to be supplied on 3 ships for unnamed african navy.
    Off topic

    France will be selling 2 of its lafayette class frigates (F710 La Fayette and F711 Surcouf) in a few years (around 2020). Would it be a good buy for TLDM (instead of more OPVs) to supplement the Gowinds?

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