NWI - Naval Warfare

IMDEX Asia 2019: China launches first LMS for Malaysia

23rd April 2019 - 12:00 GMT | by Dzirhan Mahadzir in Kuala Lumpur

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Malaysia launched the first Littoral Mission Ship (LMS), Keris, at the Shuangliu base of Wuchang Shipbuilding Industrial Group in Wuhan, China on 15 April.

The name Keris is being reused by the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) from its Keris-class patrol craft that were decommissioned in August 2005.

Keris is scheduled to be handed over to the RMN in December 2019 following acceptance trials. All four LMS are slated for assignment with the RMN Eastern Fleet, which is responsible for East Malaysian waters.

This ship is the first of four ordered for the RMN under a 23 March 2017 contract between Malaysia’s MoD and Boustead Heavy Industry Corporation (BHIC) in collaboration with the China Shipbuilding International Corporation (CSIC).

Originally, two of these 710t ships were to be built in China and two in Malaysia by BHIC subsidiary Boustead Naval Shipyards. However, on 14 March, it was announced that all four LMS vessels will be built and delivered by CSIC, which resulted in a slight price drop.

In July 2017, then RMN chief Adm Kamarulzaman told Shephard that the LMS would carry a maximum of three mission module containers, each with a maximum payload of 6t. However there has been no contract or visible development of these mission modules, which were envisioned to include a UAV operations module, a disaster relief module, mine warfare module and hydrographic survey module.

The LMS forms part of the RMN’s '15-to-5' transformation plan that calls for 18 such ships. However, it is unlikely that the current Pakatan Harapan government will commit to more of them given that were contracted by the previous Barisan Nasional government.

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