Ministry mulling options for LCS project

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 04 Aug 2020

THE Defence Ministry (Mindef) is considering three options to resolve the delay in delivering the littoral combat ship (LCS) project, says its minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

He said as of July 31, none of the six LCS ships had been completed by Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNSSB).

The overall work progress status of the project was 56.67% compared to the original plan of 85.73%, a delay of 31.1 months (29.06%), he said.

The first option, he added, was for the project to continue by appointing Naval Group France as a rescue contractor through a Deed of Assignment with BNSSB using the remaining contract ceiling to complete at least two LCS units.

“As for the second option, BNSSB will continue to complete at least two LCS units with the remaining contract ceiling, ” he said this when winding up the debate on the motion of thanks for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s royal address in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

Ismail Sabri said the third option was the termination of the BNSSB contract and finding a way to save the project.

He said the ministry would not inject additional funds to BNSSB to build the LCS and the company would have to continue with the project on the funds already provided.

“The government will not pay the debts acquired by BNSSB as requested by the company. However, the government will implement the payment to obtain the rights and complete the Detailed Design.

“Besides that, the government (will) make a claim for all the blocks and hulls of ships and LCS equipment purchased by BNSSB as the government has paid almost RM3bil for this purpose, ” he added.

He said the current progress status for LCS 1 was at 59.79%, LCS 2 (48.09%), LCS 3 (43.75%), LCS 4 (36.49%) and LCS 5 (20%) while LCS 6 had yet to start construction.

Touching on the issue of the acquisition of McDonnell Douglas MD530G helicopters, Ismail Sabri explained that the Cabinet’s decision on Dec 18 last year was to continue the contract, after taking into account the financial implications.

He said currently all six units of helicopters had yet to be delivered to Malaysia because three of them were still not ready.

“While the other three which have been completed need to go through the certification process (type certificate and certificate of airworthiness) and pre-delivery inspections (PDI) at the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) premises MD Helicopter Inc (MDHI) USA before being sent to Malaysia.

“These helicopters are expected to be handed over to the government before November 2021 after the company involved fulfils all contract obligations that are still pending, namely helicopter certification, exercise, PDI and final acceptance test, ” he said.

He added that the procurement of the aircraft was for the use of the army which was in dire need of air mobility assets, especially in the military operations area of the Eastern Sabah Security Command. — Bernama

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