More on the LMS

An earlier CGI of the LMS. TLDM picture

SHAH ALAM: More on the LMS. IT appears that Boustead Naval Shipyard will not be just the builder of the RMN’s Littoral Mission Ship (LMS), it will be the main contractor for the program. This is based on the announcement made by Bosutead Holdings Bhd, the public listed holding company of BNS.

This was the same arrangement in regard to the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program with BNS as the main contractor with DCNS as the sub-contractor. However, the LMS program differs from the LCS as the two lead ships will be built in China by the Wuchang Shipyard, in Wuhan while the other pair will be built by BNS after the two are delivered and probably commissioned.

A CGI of the LMS. TLDM picture
A CGI of the LMS. TLDM picture

Whether or not this will lead in the LMS getting more Malaysian government-furnished-equipment then originally envisaged by the China side has yet to be revealed. The same goes for the cost of the contract as it was not revealed in the Boustead Holdings announcement to the Bursa Saham.

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 4): Boustead Holdings Bhd has received a non-binding letter of intent (LoI) from the government for the supply of four vessels to the Royal Malaysian Navy.
In a bourse filing, Boustead said the vessels are called littoral mission ships.

The LoI, dated Oct 26, was received via its subsidiary, Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd, it said.

“The company will make further necessary announcements on the project in due course,” it said.

Shares in Boustead Holdings closed down 1 sen or 0.47% at RM2.14 today, giving it a market capitalisation of RM4.32 billion.

As I reported before the target cost for the LMS per ship was around RM200 million. It must be noted that the cost of the program could be a lot higher if we were to buy the IP rights to the ships altogether though at the moment there is no indication of that happening.

Anyhow, … has further things to say about the LMS and a graphic as well.

LMS and Laksamana compared.
LMS and Laksamana compared.

About the LMS68. It is now clear that it is based on a stretched Durjoy Class LPC (Large Patrol Craft). With additional 4m added to the stern, it would create an area large enough to put 2x TEU containers side by side. It would also leave enough space to have a single stern ramp for RHIB (while Singapore’s LMV has twin stern ramp due to its wider hull). The similarly shaped Azmat Class ships of Pakistan Navy has a single stern ramp for RHIB, and similar arrangements could be done. The superstructure could still be modified, the 2x 20mm bofors mount could be subsituted with 30mm RCWS either of chinese or western origin. in between the RCWS, a raised structure could be built to mount a single FL-3000N eight-round launcher. The engines could be 20-30% more powerful than the Durjoy, for a top speed of at least 30-32 Knots. A sustained speed of 28 Knots or better is a good speed to achieve, with the normal 12-15 knots economical cruise speed. Have the navy and Boustead people to visit both PNS Azmat and BNS Durjoy and witness their capabilities, and have the LMS68 incorperate good features from both ships.

For context read … earlier perspective on the LMS.

It must noted that industry sources that I spoke too indicated that Western made equipment such as sensors (non-commercial ones) and guns could be installed on the LMS as long it is done here in Malaysia. Even then these equipment must be used as a stand alone equipment and not integrated into the ship’s China designed and manufactured combat management system. Sensors that are available commercially and already installed on China made ships are exception to the rule of course.

The LCS major equipment detailed. RMN graphics.
The LCS major equipment detailed. RMN graphics.

By the way, the RMN has finally published a graphic (above) detailing the major equipment on the LCS. This is the first time that the service has confirmed that the ships will be armed with NSM anti-ship-missiles and VL MICA SAMs.


I guess the contracts for these missiles and the LMS will be signed at the LIMA 17 next year, probably boosting the business done at the show as high as RM3 billion (my estimate, could be lower). For more on the LCS check out Malaysian Defence previous posts on the program.

Some of the posts are missing due to the server failure last year. I will try to manually re-upload them whenever I got the time.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2184 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Nice LCS graphics but we could have done without catchy phrases like ”symbol of loftiness”, ”complement of capabilities” and ”silent and stealthy”; after all the graphics was released by the RMN and not some fan boy club. It doesn’t add value to anything, doesn’t create more awareness on the LCS beyond what already exists and is silly. Maybe others know but I have no clue what ””symbol of loftiness” and ”complement of capabilities” means….

    On the LMS; ideally what will be done will be for the RMN [or BNS to be exact] to form a long term partnership with the Chinese yard. The goal would be to gradually increase the local content and have a class based on a common design that can be tweaked to meet the RMN’s requirements, e.g. ships fitted out for various roles but based on the same design and sharing as much commonality as possible. That was the intention with the Kedah class until things went ratshit.

    On issues of integration this is what I’ve been harping on repeatedly and why I’ve stressed we should avoid Chinese made weapons and sensors. Even assuming we are willing to pay for the integration it will take time and is troublesome. As it is, even with Western sourced stuff, issues and delays have been faced in the past. Yes we can have stand alone systems but if that’s the case we’ll be going backwards, not forwards. With stand alone systems; we must as well do without a CMS and just have a fire control system! Another issue is buying Chinese gear will increase the logistical footprint as we have to train people to operate and maintain them and we have to stock up on new spares and support systems.

  2. All those catchy phrases are impressive to those with little command of English, funny as it is literally gibberish to those who speaks it.

  3. @azlan

    As much as each of our preference of western equipment, it is inevitable that most of the LMS equipment would be sourced from China.

    Btw a lot of current shipbuilding western equipment is now built in China. For example damen even has a factory in China building equipment like winches, anchors and others. A lot of china’s GB engineering standards are equivalent to british BS or german DIN for example.

  4. Better to have a single foreign partner help us with the hull and integration, rather than two partners.

    In other words, a western partner. Nothing to do with prejudice here.

  5. …………… – ” it is inevitable that most of the LMS equipment would be sourced from China. ”

    I’ve been told that the intention is to have the main radar, nav radar and others Western. The engines as you know will be MTU, the gearbox will also be Western.

    ……… – ”A lot of china’s GB engineering standards are equivalent to british BS or german DIN for example”

    Yes but certain people are still convinced that Chinese yards haven’t made any progress since the 1980’s.

  6. No help will be needed with the hull per say as fitting an engine, gearbox and shaft [irrespective of where they’re sourced] is pretty straightforward. The generators, ventilation, AC and distilling systems will probably be Chinese but no issues here either. The issue will be integrating a Chinese CMS to a Western main radar, navigation radar, ESM, etc. Here lies the main problem : buying non Western but specifying Western stuff that requires integration to non Western stuff. We faced the same issues with the MKM. Those that do as less integration as possible tend to have things easier and cheaper : as far as I know the only modifications done to the TTNI-AU’s Su-27/30s were Western radios, GPS, IFF and TACAN [like our Fulcrums].

    Apart from integration issue, there will be no problems putting Western made commercial-based nav radar, INS and EO turrets to a China made CMS. But integration of military spec stuff will not faced integration issue, there is no way Malaysia will be able to buy them to put them on the China made boat if its going to be intgerated to the CMS. Stand alone items is possible though it must be installed here in Malaysia.

  7. Is building this kind of ship really outside our shipbuilding capability?

    Not really but at the end of the day its the power that be that decide what to do

  8. Zanza,

    We don’t have a ready design of our own; hence the need for a foreign design. Sure, we can eventually draw up our own design but this will take time and money. Even if we did this, we would still have to source most of the systems from abroad, including the engines. For that matter, even though China is pretty advanced when it comes to missiles and other areas; it still has issues designing its own engines : most major PLAN ships are powered by Ukrainian or Russian engines, either bought off the shelf or built under license.

    The MTU engines for the LMS is likely to be sourced from the MTU factory operating in China.

  9. For the remotely controlled gun option, there is something equivalent to the msi seahawk in Chinese inventory.

    It is called the H/PJ17 30mm. Hopefully this would be used instead of the manual 20mm gun on BNS Durjoy.

    As for western sensors, something low cost such as the saab sea giraffe 1x 3d radar could be installed. As usual the navigation radar should be the excellent Kelvin Hughes sharpeye radar. If possible, savings in other areas could be found to afford the installation of the thales gatekeeper 360degree EO sensor or equivalent.

  10. Marhalim or anyone in the know;
    Is it possible local yards can contruct LMS within the stated ceiling budget of RM200m?

    I am not sure but as I reported in an earlier story, one of the people in the industry says no, not with an all Western equipment.

  11. Just my shot….if we use chinese cms rmn unable to intergrate western military spec to them…if so it could only be a stand alone….why not use SG cms maybe they would be happy n willing to intergrate westerns systems to it without fuss…….can give it a shot

    Apart from the arm sanctions against China, the reason they dont want their mil spec equipment be integrated into China made CMS as that they then have to share the software. I don’t think Singapore wants to share its mil spec software with China also

  12. If anyone remembers, RMN wants to reduce not just the variety of ships but also the variety of combat systems. It was widely reported that RMN wanted the Tacticos for the LCS because it is on the Lekiu, but was forced to go with Setis.

    Why? Because it costs money to maintain and personnel are not easily transferable between different combat systems.

    A country might have its own customised combat system but if it was developed with a foreign supplier then it might not have the rights to export it.

  13. About the setis. Actually the setis is partly based on the tacticos. Thales is a shareholder in DCNS.

  14. TACTICOS was originally developed by was then known as Holland Signaalapparaten [more commonly known as Signaal].


    Integration costs money and time. There is nothing to say that there will be less hassle integrating Western stuff to a Singaporean CMS compared to a Chinese CMS. Even integrating Western stuff to other Western stuff can be problematic.


    The Lekiu has the NAUTIS. I believe the RMN wanted TACTICOS on the LCS because it already has experience with an older variant of TACTICOS on the Kasturis.

  15. Hopeful LCS will fitted with minimum A43 sylver launcher to fit with better range SAM… hope still there..

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