Keris On Sea Trials

PCU LMS Keris. @Loongnaval

SHAH ALAM: Keris on sea trial. RMN’s first of class LMS, PCU Keris, is currently undergoing sea trials, according to a China based naval observer @Loongnaval. posted a picture of Keris undergoing sea trial though it was not dated nor the location of the sea trials.

From the high resolution picture, taken from China Neval Magazine, we can surmised only the 30mm forward gun has been installed. The ship appears to be fitted with a surface search radar and two navigation radars. It appears also that there is no electro-optical device fitted on top of the bridge though this might not be fitted yet.

PCU LMS Keris. @Loongnaval

As reported previously it is likely that the equipment are sourced China manufacturers, though it is unclear their actual type and designations.

A close up of the bridge with the EOD director and nav radar.

At the stern, the RHIB launchers look installed though no vessel appeared fitted. A small satelitte receiver dome is also fitted behind the bridge. The ship looked very much like the CGI provided by previously.

The latest CGI of the LMS. Note the main gun and containers on the foredeck.

As the RMN had already said the Keris and Sundang are expected to be delivered before the end of 2019, it is likely both ships are already undergoing sea trials.

First of class LMS, Keris, prior to its launch. RMN

Keris as you are aware was launched last April while Sundang just this July. Both are expected to be based at the Kota Kinabalu naval base.

Sundang after her launch. RMN

The Wuchang shipyard is also building two more LMS after the government ordered a review of the original contract. Two of the LMS were supposed to be build by Boustead Naval Shipyard.

The model of the LMS.

Anyhow it appears that the keel laying of the fifth LMS will not take place anytime this year. In its Bursa announcement on Jun. 30, 2019, Boustead Heavy Industries Corportation stated that the keel laying for the fifth LCS will be conducted in the fourth quarter of the year (October to December period). However, checks with industry sources revealed that no date has been fixed for the ceremony this year. The keel of the fourth LCS was conducted in October, last year.

— Malaysian Defence

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Shah Alam


  1. It’s possible the future LMSs, although fitted out differently, will be categorised as the same class (especially if the core design doesn’t differ too much. If that doesn’t happen the 15/5 will become the 15/6. The key question is of course how the follow in LMSs will be fitted out: a question nobody can currently answer.

    As I pointed our previously the 15/5 looks sound on paper (many things do) but internal opinion on whether it will actually provide the service with the needed capability was very divided and it’s subject to politics, funding and threat perceptions – all factors beyond the RMN’s control.

    The RMN is so desperate for new hulls in the water to perform peacetime duties that having 4 LMS not fully fitted is something it’s willing to live with for the moment. They will offer superior sea keeping over the FACS. have better sensors (the original
    radars on the FACs have long
    been inoperable) and will be much less maintenance intensive.

  2. At least something move on…hope more LMS to be build in the future and 15 to 5 program will carry on. If $ a very big issue, we just get more LMS and reduce LCS and NGPV.

  3. Doesn’t seem like the builder’s trial includes testing the modular system, though we still have no idea what modular system are they installed with.

  4. Good news. Thank you admin.

    Hopefully there will be follow-up ships planned. Better get the numbers first, then the weapons and electronics upgrades.

  5. From the hi res pictures, all of the ships equipment has been installed.

    You can see a bit of the RHIB bow inside the rear boat slipway.

    As for the EO turret, it is installed, but i cannot ID the type as the resolution of the picture is not clear enough.

  6. Michael- “At least something move on”

    These 4 ships are badly needed to perform various peacetime duties performed (duties that should but can’t be fully conducted by the MMEA) by the aged FACs and Laksamanas but fitted as they are; add little combat value to the RMN.

    It’s safe to assume that they might not share any commonality with follow on LMSs and despite all the talk about modular payloads; we don’t even know if they’ll be ordered.

    Michael – “ 15 to 5 program will carry on”

    Obviously there will be some sort of long term plan but whether the “5/15” as we know it will actually be implemented or became the “7/15” or “8/15” remains doubtful”.

  7. Had NGVtech didn’t dun goofed and actually do their freaking work, we would’ve have the gagah samudera class ship way earlier and who knows, we might even see a much more fitted out ship based on gagah samudera design for LMS project.

  8. …..

    Lots of free space aft of the mast and the quarter deck.

    Hopefully a ESM will be added even if the ships are not fully fitted out anytime soon.

  9. @ azlan

    Latest ESM systems are miniturized and can run on COT systems. Surely something cheap and small like the aselsan milked-4t could be fitted to the LMS68.

    Hopefully an optical radar like the Spynel-x would also be fitted. This would be helpful in finding small objects at sea such as shipwrecked persons or even submarine periscopes.

    As for the LMS68, imo it should be extended to a 2nd batch, even if it is not to the full planned 18 ships. Another 5 would be okay. At a price way less than the 1st batch. Probably could transfer the 57mm from FACs to the batch 2 LMS68.

  10. With 3 OPV from MMEA and 4 LMS, its a stepping stone to replace approximately 17 1960’s era Keris Class and 12 1970’s era FACs, not to mentioned the 4 late 80’s laksamana.

    Though lack of high end avionics, radar and fire power, i believe we should go for more hull first, then when budget available, then all those high end stuffs can come later
    I believe there should be at least another batch of the bagan datuk Class PV (6), Three more Damen Schalde OPVs and 4 more LMS should be funded under RMK12.

  11. Whatever ESM is selected should also be the one that those goes on the 2nd batch. The trick will be to maintain as much commonality as possible. It doesn’t have to be miniaturised; something similar to the DSR-300 (fitted on the Kasturis and FACs) will easily go on the LMS.

    The Bofors Mk1s are getting increasingly aged; doubtful if the RMN would want them on future ships.

  12. “The RMN is so desperate for new hulls in the water to perform peacetime duties that having 4 LMS not fully fitted is something it’s willing to live with for the moment.”

    Only time will tell how happy the RMN will be with the Keris in service.

    “Had NGVtech didn’t dun goofed and actually do their freaking work, we would’ve have the gagah samudera class ship way earlier”

    Had PSC actually done their work, we would have had 27 Kedahs.

    Based on conversations I had with ex RMN and PSC people, I believed the government then never had the intention to build more Kedah class.

  13. @ AM

    We cannot realistically afford 27 OPVs at the cost of USD300 million each. What followed on, the Gowind SGPV, is IMO the right thing to do, a fully armed frigate at around USD450 million each.

    Indonesia is able to build an 80m OPV for only USD14 million each. India, a 97m OPV for USD31 million each. Follow on LMS68 should not cost USD60++ million each. Any additional LMS68 should cost at most around USD20 million each.

  14. Kamal – “Though lack of high end avionics, radar and fire power, i believe we should go for more hull first,“

    That is precisely the intention due to the urgent need to replace the unceasingly maintenance intensive FACs and Laksamanas.
    The RMN of course wants to improve its combat capabilities but it first has to improve its ability to conduct the various day to day practice duties it’s responsible for.

    AM – “Only time will tell how happy the RMN will be with the Keris in service”

    As a patrol asset and for other secondary type duties; I can’t see why the Kris’s will pose any problems. The questions really are whether follow on LMSs will be fully fitted out and whether the modular payload approach will suit the RMN.

    kamal – “then when budget available, then all those high end stuffs can come later“

    The problem is that in most cases; ships that are “fitted for” end up “fitted with”. Secondly, all the “high end” systems like a decent nav radar, electro optical sight, ESM and fire director are the basic must haves that every ship should have.

  15. AM – “Had PSC actually done their work, we would have had 27 Kedahs.”

    Even if PSC (or rather a certain individual) had not cocked things up there were no guarantees the government would have stayed the course.

    The plan was for at least 6 Lekius and 27 Kedahs. Irrespective of the fact that they are “OPVs” would have been armed to the extent of being able to perform secondary roles: roles not requiring the Lekius.

    On paper per unit prices would have been progressively lowered as subsequent batches (with various improvements based on a common hull) were ordered but whether we actually had the operational funds to operate that number of Kedahs was of course the question.

  16. in my opinion, every navy ships should be equip with missile, not just guns. Hopefully it will be install later when there funds for it.

  17. The same question can be asked for our future fleet.

    Can we afford to build and operate, or even need 12 Gowind Frigates and 18 Kedah class OPV for the navy, plus 20 more OPV for the coast guard? That is in total 50 large patrol capable ships! Right now we have at most just around 15. The ideal numbers IMO should be around 30+, so around 10 could be at sea on patrol at any time. That number could be had by continuing OPV builds/buys/transfers for the coast guard, and concentrating on building frigates for the navy.

  18. @…
    Even SGPV project is not a good choice anymore. The price tag $450mio each is too much, RMN could sail with Arrowhead 140 or Iver huitfeldt. But it is already a done deal, despite the maharajalela yet touch the water, lets hope they can finish the project in schedule.

    No need to bring up the Kedah class. It is a fail project, even RMN dislike her and had chosen gowind.

    Like it or not, indonesia 80 metres opv with price tag $14 mio each for hull is very attractive. RMN and MMEA can have a decent hull to be fitted with weapon and censor later.

  19. @romeo
    Our Gowinds isn’t that expensive when you consider it is a fully fitted out warship, plus the added cost of local build. Ivers are basically an evolution from an existing hull design. Meanwhile Arrowhead 140 (as Type 31e) is a FFBNW, hence the low pricetag, coupled with many of the systems are local made (ie British).

    The Kedahs are the truly overpriced ones having 2/3 Gowind pricetag but not even 2/3 the capability. I doubt more Kedahs will continue unless they reduce the pricetag by 30-40%.

  20. romeo

    The decision for gowind was made in 2011 of course there will be more advanced design bound to come out by then. What do you want, the navy to perpetually delay their decision just because another shipbuilder came up with newer design all while our gaps in ability remain unaddressed?

  21. … “We cannot realistically afford 27 OPVs at the cost of USD300 million each.”

    Certainly not, although USD300m represented the intended cost of the first batch, including fixed costs. Follow on units would have shared in these costs and been cheaper. Of course, as Azlan said there is no guarantee further units would have been approved even if things had not been buggered.

    “As a patrol asset and for other secondary type duties; I can’t see why the Kris’s will pose any problems.”

    I’m thinking of whether the design (and the chosen fittings) will prove easy or cheap to maintain in practice, whether it will ride well at sea. If not, then even if the platform is not acquired in the intended numbers and deployed in the intended roles, and something else has to be acquired, I would see it as a good thing. There is no point throwing good money after bad, and standardizing on something that does not meet our needs.

  22. “I hope the navy will retain both the DSI30 and M2 hmg instead of using chinese made armaments.”

    As you can see, the LMS has been fitted with a Chinese gun in the A position.

    On that note, I find it interesting that we decided to acquire and operate a handful of MIFV with the M60 MG, and we are still using till now.

    As reported previously the MIFV was bought for the Bosnian mission from South Korea and we continue using some of it in service after upgrades mostly for the engines. The M60 came supplied with the vehicles as well as its M2 machine gun

  23. @ Dundun

    the RCWS on the LMS68 is the chinese made H/PJ-17 30MM RCWS

    china also builds clones of M2 and GMPG

    GMPG is also build as the CS/LM1

    M2 is also build as the CS/LM6

    @ AM

    The Meko 100 as we can see with subsequent builds for other countries, cannot be made cheaply. At best a ship without any armaments and CMS would be around USD150 million.

  24. Romeo -“even RMN dislike her and had chosen gowind”

    You sure? The RMN has issues with the Kedahs but saying it “dislikes” them is coming on a bit too strong. Also who said the RMN chose the Gowind? What make you think the RMN actually had a major say in the matter?

    AM – “I’m thinking of whether the design (and the chosen fittings) will prove easy or cheap to maintain in practice, whether it will ride well at sea”

    I should think that’s the least of the worries. It doesn’t have an unconventional hull design, has proven engines and has a basic fit out.

    The potential problem is when modular payloads are fitted. We have to get the right payloads, make sure the ships are fitted with the right payloads when needed and avoid any integration issues.

  25. @…
    Well, Arrowhead is a much bigger ship compare to LCS. It can play a role of AAW ship not just ASW ship. With $450 mio RMN can also have iver huitfeldt with ASuW,.ASW and AAW capability for just $340 mio. What i wany to say is at present LCS is not a good choice anymore, you pay more for less. But as I said it is a done deal.

    You can use another word if you like. RMN also “dislike” gowind because RMN prefers TACTICOS than SETIS. For the hull RMN even reject the modified Meko and prefered gowind.

  26. Romeo,

    Get your narrative right….

    Why was Thyssen’s bid based on an enlarged Meko not selected? Who actually selected DCNS and how much say did the RMN actually have? For that matter; who specified a number of systems/components that went on the LCS? There is nothing wrong with Gowind per see but it wasn’t selected mainly based on merits but on other considerations..

  27. The Thomson CSF (now Thales) directors have been inoperable for more than a decade now; as have the Saab ones on the former Marikh OPVs and the Racal (Decca) ones on the Saktis but we never got around to getting new directors.
    I guess it wasn’t deemed a priority.

  28. Something similar to the LMS68

    Senegal is buying 3x 62m OPV from Piriou. No cost is revealed, but it is in “several hundred million euros”. Probably in the same price range as our own LMS68.

    From the article:

    With a length and beam of respectively 62.2 and 9.50 meters, the OPV 58S has a steel hull and aluminum superstructures and can reach a maximum speed of 21 knots with a range of 4,500 nautical miles at 12 knots and an operational endurance of 25 days. The OPV 58S is a versatile platform capable to accomplish a wide range of missions, characterized by a 360° large panoramic bridge and a C-Sharp hull design providing optimized range and seakeeping. With accommodations for 48 persons including 24 crew members, the OPV 58S model is equipped with a side-by-side stern-launch and recovery station for a total of two RHIBs and a forward multi-mission deck area capable to host up to two standard 20’ containers. The combat system is expected to be based on the Naval Group POLARIS command management system with an armament package which, according to the renderings, includes a Leonardo 76/62 mm Super Rapido main gun, two Nexter Narwhal 20 mm remotely controlled guns for asymmetric threats defence and an MBDA Simbad RC dual Mistral 3 surface-to-air missile launcher for short-range air and surface defence in addition to two double launchers for MBDA Marte Mk2/N surface-to-surface missiles.

    The armament is closer to a corvette than a purely OPV. When compared to the LMS68, the OPV 58S is 1knot slower (21 vs 22 knots), more than double the range (4500nm vs 2000nm), more space for crew (48 vs 45 men), less container space (2TEU vs 3TEU), same boat space (2 RHIB side by side on stern launch), more heavily armed (76mm gun, 4x anti-ship missiles, Mistral MANPAD, 2x 20mm RCWS vs 30mm RCWS, 2x 0.50HMG). One feature i like is the panoramic bridge, the same feature i proposed with my modified LMS68 design previously.

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