LCS sea trials set for mid-year, says Navy chief

KUANTAN: The first littoral combat ship (LCS) is expected to start sea trials in May or June, said Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) chief Admiral Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Ayob.

He said the ship will then have 22 months to undergo the installation of systems and equipment before it can be handed over to the RMN for operational tests, which are scheduled for the end of 2026.

“That is the first ship, and if the programme goes well, we will receive the second LCS eight months after that, followed by the third unit eight months later and the fourth unit. The success of the first LCS is very critical in determining the continuation of this project until the fifth ship,” he said.

Abdul Rahman said this at a press conference after attending the ceremony for the naming and commissioning of RMN’s KD Sri Sabah and KD Sri Sarawak patrol crafts at the Tanjung Gelang naval base here yesterday, Bernama reported.

He also described the smooth progress of the LCS construction so far as a significant achievement for RMN and the firms involved.

In addition, Abdul Rahman said RMN’s application to obtain the second batch of littoral mission ships (LMS) is still at the decision stage by the Finance Ministry, but he is optimistic that he will receive good news on the procurement soon.

Commenting on the naming ceremony, Abdul Rahman said KD Sri Sabah and KD Sri Sarawak were re-commissioned for the second time.

The patrol craft were initially commissioned for the RMN fleet in 1967 before being transferred to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) upon the agency’s establishment in 2006.

The patrol craft, each 31.4m long and 6m wide and capable of reaching a speed of 22 knots, were returned to RMN on June 10, 2020, as an interim measure while waiting for new assets and will be stationed here temporarily before heading to Naval Region 2 Headquarters (Mawilla 2) in Sandakan, Sabah.

Based on the plan, the patrol craft will be used for policing the waters of Eastern Sabah for operational needs in narrow and shallow waters, in addition to being used as a training platform for navy personnel.

“These two ships have been completely overhauled by MSET Shipbuilding Corporation Sdn Bhd (MSET) in Terengganu.

“We expect these two ships to be operational for up to 15 years,” he said.

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