PORT KLANG: Malaysia’s Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) will begin operations in 2018 and will be the main asset of the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) in safeguarding the country’s waters and sovereignty, said Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.
He said six LCS will patrol the nation’s waters especially in areas of high economic activity.
At the same time, he said the Defence Ministry will also procure critical assets from countries which have a close relationship with Malaysia in the defence industry.
“Procuring defence assets this way is more cost effective and faster with lower risks as compared to developing an an indigenious (defence) industry,” he told a media group, including from Bernama, that was specially invited to tour two of the ships here yesterday.
The LCS were the KD Kelantan and KD Laksamana Tun Abdul Jamil.
Elaborating further, Hishammuddin said the LCS initiative was a short-term measure to achieve ‘self-reliant’ status in developing the local defence industry and that major development like the LCS by using local companies would continue to be a model for procurement of defence assets for the nation.
He said the ministry was also making efforts to procure important assets like amphibious landing ships, fighter aircraft and tanks.
Meanwhile, he said the ministry was also drawing up plans to further boost the country’s defence capabalities which among others included setting up a marine operations force and building a new RMN base in Bintulu, Sarawak.
As such, Hishammuddin said in Budget 2014, the ministry would try to get a higher allocation to enable the procurement of new assets and equipment as well as upgrading existing assets in all three branches of the armed forces with the priority given to the Eastern Sabah Safety Zone (ESSZONE). — Bernama