NWI - Naval Warfare

DSA 2018: Malaysia looks beyond China for next-gen LMS

17th April 2018 - 01:00 GMT | by Gordon Arthur in Kuala Lumpur

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Boustead Heavy Industries Corporation (BHIC), a Malaysian shipbuilder, displayed a scale model of an evolved Littoral Mission Ship (LMS) at the DSA 2018 exhibition in Kuala Lumpur.

The design signified the direction the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) could take once its four LMS vessels being built jointly by BHIC and China are in service.

Dubbed the Revolutionary Littoral Mission Ship, it could be slightly longer than the Chinese-designed LMS. Furthermore, it could displace in the order of 750t, compared to 710t for the original batch of four.

The model depicted a vessel with a stern flight deck but no hangar, and side-launching RHIBs stowed amidships instead of at the stern. A storage deck below the flight deck could accommodate a couple of containers.

The maximum armament would be a 40mm cannon, compared to a 30mm RWS fitted on the original LMS.

However, the exact configuration of the follow-on LMS will depend entirely on the RMN’s needs, FAdm Ir. Hairutdon Ayob, head of the LMS programme, told Shephard.

Clearly, though, the Revolutionary LMS will be a more unique Malaysian design, and will likely mix Western subsystems with Chinese ones, instead of the purely Chinese subsystems and weapons on the first four vessels.

Under the RMN’s ‘15-to-5’ plan, the RMN needs 18 LMS vessels in total. That leaves 14 to be built by BHIC in Malaysia, though the RMN also has the option of building some extras in the same configuration as the first quartet.

Ayob said the aim would be to begin inducting the next-generation LMS in 2022, the year following commissioning of ships 3 and 4 in the first LMS batch. He noted that this would ensure continuous construction at his company’s Lumut shipyard.

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