‘Combat ship ready for sea trials in November’

AFTER much delay, the controversial littoral combat ship (LCS) project is set to be on track for sea trials this November, says Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin.

The Defence Minister said the project’s overall completion progress was at 67.57% as of January this year.

“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.

Following mitigation efforts, Khaled said the project would be back on track according to schedule by June.

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

“It will 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.

As for the other four LCS, the minister said they would be on track for progress by the end of this year.

The completion rate for the second ship is expected to be 78.17%, followed by the third LCS (61.48%), the fourth (53.4%), and the fifth (44.11%) by 2024.

Recently, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) revealed that the first LCS was 86 days behind schedule.

To this, Khaled said the PAC had come to the figure after combining the delays of several components under the project.

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

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

Khaled then said that the allocation was used to cover the changes in LCS specifications.

“This included changes for the Surface-to-Surface Missile, Decoy Launching System, and Integrated Platform Management System as required by the Navy,” he said.

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