On Budget and Schedule

SHAH ALAM: On budget and schedule, that was the message by TS Kamarulzaman Badaruddin on the Littoral Mission Ship (LMS) project, that was conceived and contracted during his tenure as the RMN chief. The retired admiral contacted Malaysian Defence the other day- unprompted-following news that the third LMS had been launched in China. Asked whether I could share it to the public, he said yes.

Third LMS after her launch. RMN

“Alhamdullilah. Project on time (except for the three or four months delay due to crew recalled home because of COVID) and most importantly on budget! (despite a number of VO (variation orders). The LMS only cost 20 per cent of the LCS but can fulfill 80 per cent of the LCS role. Cost to operate is expected 20 per cent of LCS. Concept of “fit for purpose and 1st Government-to-Government programme (no third party or middle man involvement). Some people ask about capability – as I said its “fit for purpose” and easily can be upgraded based on the design “FBNW – fitted for but now with” for SSM and other special roles with containerized capability fit.”

Kamarulzaman (in uniform) when he visited the Wuchang shipyard in 2018. courtesy of TS Kamarulzaman

Asked to explain further, Kamarulzaman said he was proud of the project

“because I proposed different approach – G to G and FIXED costs – must be on time to protect China’s image and pride! (that’s why now all 4 LMS progress very well – I’m so happy and proud as this project was my Baby!!”

Sundang at its launch ceremony in July, 2019. RMN

He added :

“Chinese shipyards no longer what people think of it before. I visited our LMS program at Wuchang. Their work culture and tech is way ahead of us and even western. 1st time I saw they introduce fully automatic robots to weld piping works!! it can do 24/7 and perfect weld and no wastage!”

KD Keris

Kamarul also said the decision to have all four LMS manufactured in China was a blessing in disguise.

“They could hv build our LMS faster and a lot cheaper if all build there…… thats why the change of contract by new government wanting to save 10 per cent costs they can still deliver and even faster there. A blessing in disguise…… imagine if we follow the contract requirement to have the third and fourth LMS in Boustead Naval Shipyard!! OMG….. with the COVID19 and political challenges and Boustead Heavy Engineering Corportaion (BHIC) cash flow problems….. we will never know when and if we even get the ships delivered….. for now all good for the last 2 to delivered by next year…”

KD Keris arriving at the Sepanggar naval base jetty for the welcoming ceremony

I know many of Malaysian Defence readers are critical of the project, the only thing I can ask is that, please be civil.

— Malaysian Defence

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