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Royal Malaysian Navy receives first Chinese-built Littoral Mission Ship

China has handed over the first of four Keris-class Littoral Mission Ships (LMSs) on order for the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN).

The handover of Keris (with pennant number 111) took place in a ceremony held on 31 December at the facilities of Wuchang Shipbuilding at Qidong, near Shanghai, according to an RMN statement issued that same day.

        , Malaysia’s first LMS is seen here before its launch at Wuhan, China, in April 2019. The warship was handed over to the RMN on 31 December in a ceremony held at Qidong near Shanghai.

Keris , which was launched in Wuhan on 15 April, is expected to be inducted into the RMS on 6 January at Qidong before sailing to the RMN’s Sepanggar base at Kota Kinabalu, which is located in the state of Sabah in the Malaysian part of the island of Borneo.

The second ship of the class, Sundang (112), was launched on 12 July, also at Wuhan, and is expected to be handed over to the RMN in April 2020. The remaining two ships of the class, which will also be built at Wuhan, are expected to be delivered in mid-2021.

Once in service, the service’s four LMSs are set to be based at Sepanggar, which also serves as the headquarters for the RMN’s Eastern Fleet.

The LMSs are part of contract signed in 2017 between Malaysia’s Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS) and the China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Corporation (CSOC) that marked Malaysia’s first-ever order for Chinese-made naval vessels.

Originally, BNS was set to construct two Keris-class vessels in Malaysia with assistance from CSOC as part of a technology transfer and capacity-building arrangement.

However, a revision by the new Malaysian administration, which took office following the May 2018 general elections, saw the contract value being reduced from USD289 million to USD205 million, with all four ships now set to be built in China.

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