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Malaysian navy tables MYR2.4 billion proposal for three more Littoral Mission Ships

A Royal Malaysian Navy Keris-class LMS. The service has proposed a MYR2.4 billion plan to procure three improved variants of this class under its 2023 budget. (Pieter Sinke)

The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) has laid out a MYR2.4 billion (USD524.84 million) proposal to procure an initial batch of three improved Littoral Mission Ship (LMS) vessels under the country's next defence budget.

Documents provided to Janes indicate that the plan is being proposed under the RMN's ‘Rolling Plan 3' of the 12th Malaysia Plan, which runs from 2021 to 2025. ‘Rolling Plan 3' covers proposals that will be funded in the country's national budget for 2023.

The vessels will be known as the ‘LMS Second Batch' and the three units that have been proposed for funding under its 2023 budget will be the first vessels in a class of eight ships.

Malaysian Minister of Defence Hishammuddin Hussein first disclosed in January 2022 during an annual ministerial address that the country will procure eight more ‘LMS Second Batch' vessels for the RMN as a follow-on to the Keris-class LMS. However, no further details were provided.

The Keris-class programme is Malaysia's first order for naval ships from China. A contract for four vessels was signed between Putrajaya and the trading subsidiary of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) in April 2017.

The vessels were subsequently commissioned between January 2020 and January 2022, and all four vessels are now in service with the 11th LMS Squadron in Kota Kinabalu, East Malaysia. The class has an overall length of about 68.8 m and displaces 700 tonne at full load.

For the ‘LMS Second Batch' programme, Malaysia is known to have evaluated proposals from several shipbuilders other than those affiliated with the CSIC.

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