LCS project getting back on track for sea trials in November, says Defence Minister

KUALA LUMPUR: After much delay, the controversial littoral combat ship (LCS) project is set to get back on track to begin sea trials this November, says Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin.

The Defence Minister said completion progress was at 67.57% as of January.

"This is around 1% less than the targeted completion progress rate of 68.77%," he said when winding up ministerial replies on the motion of thanks on the royal address in the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday (March 12).

Following mitigation efforts, he added, the project would be back on schedule by June.

He said this meant the first LCS would be 85% complete by November.

"It will then undergo harbour acceptance tests and sea trials for two years.

"The ship will then be commissioned by the Royal Malaysian Navy by 2026," he said, adding that the remaining four ships would also undergo similar trials upon reaching 85% completion.

By the end of the year, he said the completion level of the four remaining ships would be at 78.17%, 61.48%, 53.4% and 44.11%.

He also clarified a recent report by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that the first LCS was 86 days behind schedule.

He explained that the PAC had arrived at the figure after totalling the delays of several components.

Mohamed Khaled clarified that these delays were in fact concurrent and not consecutive, and so should not be added up to 86 days.

Earlier, Datuk Seri Ikmal Hisham Abdul Aziz (PN-Tanah Merah) had asked Khalid if the LCS project faced never ending delays.

He also questioned if the additional RM2.5bil allocation had been used to pay off previous debts.

Mohamed Khaled explained that the extra allocation was used to cover the changes in LCS specifications, not to pay off previous debts.

"“This includes changes in specifications for the surface-to-surface missile system, decoy launching system, and integrated platform management system... as required by the Royal Malaysian Navy," he added.

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