SHAH ALAM: ON Friday, Singapore Defence Minister launched Independence, the RSN’s first Littoral Mission Vessel (LMV). Seven more LMVs will be built to replace the Fearless-class patrol vessels (PVs), which have been in service for 20 years.
Among the key features of the LMV according to a release is the Integrated Command Centre where the ships Bridge, Combat Information Centre and Machinery Control Room are co-located.
Normally they are placed in the different areas of the ship, one reason for which is to allow the ship to function even after suffering battle damage. However for a small ship like LMV putting all the main control functions in one area would allow better cordination and moreover free up space below decks for other functions.
According to the release, the LMVs also have greater endurance than the Fearless-class vessels and are able to stay at sea for up to 14 days (3,500 nautical miles). The LMVs ability to respond rapidly to maritime security incidents is further enhanced with its faster speed in excess of 27 knots and the ability to support a medium-lift helicopter.
The vessels will be fitted with 12 VL MICA surface to air missiles. There is no mention of the SSMs. Perhaps this capability is a Fitted For but Not Equipped With for the first vessel.
Based on the specifications published, it appears that the LMV has some of the equipment fitted on RMN’s own LCS. Apart from the VL MICA, both shared the same main radar, the Thales 3D radar and both are probably housed in the same stealthy mounting.
Of course, RMN’s LCS is much bigger, some 2500 tonnes compared to the much smaller LMV. The LMV is actually slightly bigger than the missile corvettes proposed by Daewoo of South Korea.
However, unlike that project, funds for the LMV has been allocated and probably by the time we decide to recapitalise the RMN patrol fleet, RSN will have another batch of vessels already to go.
So what is the cost of an LMV? There is no official announcement but ST Marine – the builder of the LMV – secured a US$880 million to build four 75 metres PVs for the Royal Oman Navy in 2012. Based on that contract we can assume that the LMV will cost at least US$200 million (RM833 million) each.
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