KOTA KINABALU (Aug 16): The project on the construction of the littoral combat ships (LCS) is expected to resume next month, said Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) chief Admiral Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Ayob.
He said the construction will resume after the sixth supplemental agreement was signed at the 2023 Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition 2023 (LIMA 2023) in May.
“Five LCS vessels will be handed over to the RMN in stages, with the first ship expected to be handed over at the end of 2026,” he told a media conference after the closing ceremony of the ANGSA (Air and Sea) Exercise Series 14/23 at the Kota Kinabalu RMN Base in Sepanggar, near here, today.
On the littoral mission ship (LMS) project, Abdul Rahman said they were still identifying suitable builders to carry out the project based on the specifications stipulated by RMN.
“The allocation has already been given out, we hope the contract can be signed this year, at the latest, and construction can begin next year as we expect it will take 36 months to be completed,” he said.
On the ANGSA Exercise, Abdul Rahman said the joint RMN-Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) exercise, which began on July 28, involved 2,562 personnel, that also included Malaysian Armed Forces personnel as support and observation elements.
He said the goal of the exercise was, among others, to assess the interoperability of RMN and RMAF, especially in the 3P aspect of People, Process and Platform, with the involvement of assets belonging to RMN and RMAF.
“This exercise is significant in ensuring both the RMN and RMAF can operate as one military unit that is more versatile and efficient in Malaysia’s maritime zones,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chief of Air Force Gen Tan Sri Mohd Asghar Khan Goriman Khan said RMAF had signed a contract to purchase a new ATR 72 maritime patrol aircraft which is expected to enter the RMAF inventory from 2026, in addition to a contract for the first phase of the purchase of three Turkiye-manufactured unmanned aerial systems (UAS) units.
Earlier, Mohd Asghar Khan said that apart from enhancing the level of preparedness and mutual service between RMN and RMAF, the ANGSA Exercise this time is a driver for improving tactics, techniques and procedures between the two services at the operational and tactical levels.
“I hope efforts to increase these mutual elements will continue to be further enhanced to form a more mature and reliable task force in the collective implementation of maritime domain operations,” he said. – Bernama