Malaysia revises contract for Littoral Mission Ships

18 March 2019

Key Points

  • Malaysia has revised its four warship contract with a Chinese shipbuilder
  • The revision is latest in a series of Sino-Malaysia emendations undertaken by the new government since taking power in mid-2018

A model of the Littoral Mission Ship displayed by China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation at LIMA 2017. (IHS Markit/Ridzwan Rahmat)A model of the Littoral Mission Ship displayed by China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation at LIMA 2017. (IHS Markit/Ridzwan Rahmat)

A contract to build Littoral Mission Ships (LMSs) for the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) has been revised.

As part of the revision, Malaysian shipbuilder Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS) will no longer build two of the vessels in-country as originally negotiated for in 2017. As such, all four vessels ordered under the contract will now be built in China.

The contract price has also been revised from MYR1.17 billion (USD286.1 million) to MYR1.05 billion, said Boustead Heavy Industries Corporation (BHIC) in a filing with the stock exchange of Malaysia on 15 March. BHIC is the publicly listed parent company of BNS.

The Malaysian government, which was then under the administration of beleaguered former prime minister Najib Razak, signed a contract for four LMSs with China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) in April 2017. It is the country’s first-ever major naval ship contract with China.

Under the contract the first two vessels in the programme were to be built in China by a CSIC-affiliated shipyard, while the remaining two hulls would be constructed by BNS with Chinese assistance as part of a technology transfer arrangement.

The keel for the first vessel was laid down by China’s Wuchang Shipbuilding in October 2018, while steel for the second-of-class was cut on the same day.

The LMS has an overall length of 68.8 m, an overall beam of 9 m, and a hull draught of 2.8 m, and will displace about 700 tonnes at full load. It will have a top speed of 22 kt and a standard range of about 2,000 n miles (3,704 km) at 15 kt.

The vessel can be armed with a 20 mm or 30 mm naval gun in a remote-controlled weapon station (RCWS) turret as a primary weapon and can accommodate two 12.7 mm machine gun positions on the deck area behind the vessel’s bridge.

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