The Never Ending Story

LCS PCU Maharaja Lela. Her name could be seen on the stern. Picture taken on Aug. 25. 2017.

SHAH ALAM: The never ending story. Former Defence Minister DS Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has given his statements to the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee on the White Elephant, the RMN’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) project. He gave the statement to the PAC today (Oct. 25).

From The Edge

PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh said Ahmad Zahid, the Member of Parliament for Bagan Datuk, who was the defence minister from April 10, 2009 to May 16, 2013, gave his statement for almost two hours on the issue, involving the biggest defence procurement in the history of the ministry.

Wong said Ahmad Zahid was the sixth witness called by the PAC over the issue after the ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Seri Muez Abdul Aziz, former Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) chief General (Rtd) Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar and Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS) chief operating officer Low Kok Chiang.

“The PAC views this issue seriously because until October 2020, RM6.083 billion had been paid out but none of the LCS was completed although according to the schedule, two of the ships should have been built,” Wong said in a statement on Monday.

The issue was raised in the Auditor-General’s Report 2019 Series 1 (Compliance Auditing of Ministries/Federal Departments) and the Governance, Procurement and Government Financial Committee Investigation Report, Prime Minister’s Department, published in 2019.

Wong said to complete the investigation, the PAC also plans to visit the LCS dockyard owned by BNS in Lumut, Perak, with the date to be fixed.

The LCS major equipment detailed. RMN graphic

Unfortunately, nothing in the statement has given us anything new on the LCS project. As I mentioned previously in the comments, we will be lucky if the first LCS is commissioned into service by 2025. For more on the LCS project, check out the various Malaysian Defence postings on the issue through-out the years.

The steel cutting ceremony for the first LCS as recorded by the RMN website.

It must be noted that we are coming up on seventh anniversary of the first steel cutting ceremony for the first LCS which was on Dec, 5, 2014.

–Malaysian Defence

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13 Comments

  1. This is the biggest blunder for the ministry and the company ever since the 6 OPV. This is why politician should not be appointed to head the defense ministry or any other ministry that handle large project. Things like this will happen.

  2. Akmal,

    By the very nature of things,polticians will head large bureacratic bodies like MINDEF but there must be proper oversight and there must be a sound and realistic, achievable plan in place. When the whole defence policy is highly flawed to begin with, what do you expect?

  3. Let me put this up again
    LCS is a political grenade, BN won’t bring it up since it was their rule that shit started, PH won’t bring it up because they couldn’t solve it when they were in power, PN won’t bring it up as they are just as guilty of doing nothing. Only Ismail Sabri then as PN Menhan have spoken out about the LCS issue only because there was a blame game.

    Nobody will dare touch it because they all had their hands dirtied by it.

    @Akmal
    Interesting thought. If ministers are not appointed to head ministries then who should lead those ministries? Expanding on that, wouldn’t that meant the PM should not be heading the Government so who really should be ruling the country then?

  4. It’s been reported before here. Some of the articles especially the new one are unclickable ~ without going to the MBDA ad page or having to click on reader comments to access article (on mobile IOS and Android)

    Thank you

  5. Before this 2023 now probably 2025 ‘if we are lucky’. This is so sad to hear never ending bad stories on LCS. By 2025 Indonesia would likely to have at least 1 FREMM and 1 Type31 completed or in service not to mention 3 more new submarines. Yup not a good first 10 years for the debunked 15 to 5 plan. I am starting to change my tunes in hopefully the next batch of Kedahs would offset RMN lack of capability due to the delays of LCS.

    My Kedah Batch 2 configuration (6-12 ships)
    – TRS3D pesa radar
    – MCT Vibrant1 CMS (same as Jebat)
    – TMX/EO Mk2 FCD x2
    – Thales BlueWatcher/BlueHunter hull mounted sonar
    – 57mm gun x1
    – Rim116 RAM block2 x20 on MK49 launcher
    – NSM/Brahmos/Teseo Mk2 or any other ASM x4
    – DS30 Seahawk Sigma x1 with 5x Martlet SAM
    – MU90 lightweight torpedoes x4
    – 3 MTU Diesel engines instead of 2

    IMO if RMN don’t wanted this or could not afford this, then they should just skip the Kedah Batch 2 and go for LMS Batch 3 with a TRS-3D radar instead

  6. Luqman – ”My Kedah Batch 2 configuration”

    No way Brahmos will fit on even a stretched Meko-A100 hull. Also, to exploit Brahmos to its full potential one needs a strike/recce complex.

    You’re focused on the hardware; me on the ”systems”. We need to improve our network centric capabilities and also take the long overdue step into unmanned platforms like USVs and UUVs. Naval warfare is rapidly changing; it’s not just a matter of heavily armed hulls anymore.

    luqman – ”they should just skip the Kedah Batch 2”

    Zero chance of getting Kedah Batch 2 which according to plan would have come – as a supplement – after the LCSs and LMS had entered service.

    Priority should be on LMS Batch 2s ; fully fitted out.

  7. @Luqman
    Rather than increasing TLDM, I’d prefer we spend whatever money to beef up MMEA; more patrol boats, more crew, better training, send them to cross train with US Coastguard or something, more radars, setup an independent 2nd HQ Command at East MY.

  8. @Azlan

    – Brahmos NG could fit but the price would be very expensive. NSM and and Teseo would be my prefer choice.

    – “You’re focused on the hardware; me on the ”systems”” To get such capability we do need tp buy some hardware. You are also aware that RMN need to replace many hulls. The hulls simply could not be replace with UUV or USV instead they need to complement the new ships. The priority for RMN now is to get as much money as possible to buy new hulls. Remind you that I am still not a big advocate for Kedah Batch 2. I think more value can be extracted by getting LMS Batch 2 and 3.

    – “long overdue step into unmanned platforms like USVs and UUVs” I also really want RMN to have that capability unfortunately as it stands right now its not their priority. Hence why I don’t want Kedah Batch 2 rather use that money to get more LMS, more UUVs UAVs USVs and SSK.

    @joe
    – As it stands now, the MMEA is getting much more value then what they had originally granted, the OPV for example, someone in MMEA and KDN are using their heads properly. MMEA with current budget allocations are enough for them to grow overtime. We cannot just simply cut a big chunk from the RMN budget and gave it to MMEA. The ideal way is to strike a nice balance for RMN and MMEA procurements.

  9. @Luqman
    As it stands right now, giving TLDM more money is pointless at it much anyways, the LCS is stalled and no indication of new LMS which could very well buy you 2-3 MMEA OPVs. They had no choice but to relifed old patrol boats because MMEA still lack resources to take up their slack, one of the reasons why exasperated Sarawak wanted to setup their own maritime enforcement agency. Which is why I’d rather pass more money & resources to enhance MMEA to a level where they could constantly patrol both East & West MY. That would need a 2nd HQ Command based in East MY, needing more money & resources.

  10. Luqman,

    I seriously doubt 4 Brahmos would fit on a Meko A-100 hull, plus the fact I don’t see the added value in getting Brahmos. Range isn’t everything. A strike/recce complex is also needed to fully exploit Brahmos to its full potential

    We actually have the hardware and are planning to get the exrra hardware but we have to make the transition from a platform centric navy to a systems one. Not as a substitute for harwdare but as a supplement, i.e. MPAs have to be able to “talk” to ships and UASs. Jointness is also vital, RMAF MPAs must be able to operate with RMN and MMEA ships, sounds obvious but in reality we have a long way to go.

    As I’ve pointed out before,zero chance of Kedah Batch 2s. They were predicated on the LCSs and LMSs coming first.

  11. @joe
    “new LMS which could very well buy you 2-3 MMEA OPVs”
    – On what basis would you suggest that? even a Chinese LMS are priced close to a MMEA OPV. If the LMS is equipped with a TSA like CAPTAS2 or an AESA radar or if its built by BNS (*cough cough) I would understand that price.

    “2nd HQ Command based in East MY, needing more money & resources.”
    That time will come eventually as both MMEA and RMN will have more larger ships in the future, hopefully.

    @Azlan
    “I don’t see the added value in getting Brahmos.”
    – I do understand that hence why there are other choices on the market that I had mentioned.

    “zero chance of Kedah Batch 2s.”
    – I hopefully want that to happen too. Skip them until at least RMK14.

  12. @Luqman
    MMEA OPV is 1,890ton while LMS is a mere 700ton. The OPV cost Rm246mil while estimates for LMS is RM 262mil. So to get the same tonnage of 3 OPVs(5,670tons) you’d have to build 8 LMS for a total cost of RM 2Bil vs RM740mil for the OPVs.

  13. Luqman – “– I do understand that hence why there are other choices on the market that I had mentioned.”

    Good then why even bring it into the equation in the first place 🙁 🙁

    We don”t have the strike recce complex ti fully exploit it.

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