KUALA LUMPUR: The procurement of the first batch of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) has been reduced from six to five vessels after the application to continue the project was discussed again by the government, says Navy chief Admiral Datuk Abdul Rahman Ayob.
"Originally, it was six units of LCS but when we re-applied and discussed the matter again, we agreed for the vessels to be reduced to five.
"The first batch has been set at five (units). This decision was made some time ago when the government decided to continue the LCS project (last year)," he told reporters after delivering his maiden speech after being appointed as the 18th Royal Malaysian Navy chief at Wisma Pertahanan here on Monday (Jan 30).
Also present were Deputy Navy chief Vice-Admiral Datuk Sabri Zali, Western Fleet Commander Vice-Admiral Datuk Abu Bakar Md Ajis, Eastern Fleet Commander Vice-Admiral Datuk Muhammad Ruzelme Ahmad Fahimy and president of National Centre for Defence Studies Vice-Admiral Datuk Zulhelmy Ithnain.
Abdul Rahman said the sixth supplementary agreement on the LCS project would be signed soon to enable the following process to take place and the construction to be carried out as planned.
"It is okay now. There is nothing surprising, and we hope we can get these vessels according to schedule (because) we lack high-capacity assets like the LCS.
"It can help us to strengthen (our capabilities) and carry out our tasks with excellence," he said.
In the meantime, Abdul Rahman said the procurement of the second batch of Littoral Mission Ship (LMS) would be realised in safeguarding the security and sovereignty of the country's waters.
"We hope the application can be approved this year to enable us to carry out the procurement process, with every vessel to take at least three years to complete.
"This time, we need LMS with combat capabilities. That's a significant difference from the four LMS we've acquired from China. For starters, we requested three units (for the second batch)," he said. – Bernama