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Malaysian shipyard pushes back delivery of first LCS to 2026

Maharaja Lela , seen here under construction at Lumut, more than two years after its ceremonial launch. (Malaysia Ministry of Defence)

Malaysia's Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS) has once again pushed back the expected delivery date for the country's first Maharaja Lela-class littoral combat ship (LCS).

A report published by a government-convened Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on 24 January indicates that the frigate-like ship will now be delivered in October 2026. This is an almost two-year delay from the November 2024 target that was projected earlier.

The bipartisan PAC was convened by Putrajaya in 2020 to investigate the reasons behind these multiple delays and bring greater accountability to the troubled LCS programme, which was then running behind time by more than a year.

The programme's first-of-class, which would have been in service as KD Maharaja Lela, was supposed to have been delivered to the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) in 2019.

Since it was convened, the PAC has published its findings on these delays. It has also been periodically updating the Malaysian government on the latest progress made by BNS on the LCS programme.

In its latest report published on 24 January, the PAC has once again raised its concerns over continued delays faced by the shipbuilding programme and recommends that it be put under more intense scrutiny.

The PAC did not give specific details of why the additional 23-month pushback in expected delivery date has arisen, but said in the report that it will be presenting its findings and recommendations at the Malaysian parliament's lower house on 26 February.

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