Report: All 5 littoral combat ships will only be ready by 2029, says PAC

THE Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on the littoral combat ship (LCS) has revealed that the construction period would be extended to 83 more months and all five vessels would only be handed over to the Royal Malaysian Navy (TLDM) in 2029.

This timeline is an extension from the previously agreed completion date which is 2022.

“The LCS construction period has been extended to 83 months and it is expected that TLDM will only be able to obtain all five LCSs in 2029 compared to the original contract where LCS 5 was supposed to be delivered in 2022,” the PAC in a declassified report posted on its website said today (Oct 9).

In the report, the PAC committee also found that the main issue of LCS’s detailed design has not yet been resolved which is currently at a rate of 96% completion at the construction contractor level with only 84% having gone through the confirmation, verification and approval stage by the Naval Group from France as the LCS design supervisor.

“However, the construction contractor assured that the detailed design must be completed before Aug 2024 as contained in the Sixth Supplementary Agreement (SA6),” the PAC said.

On the reduced number of vessels, the government has decided to bring the number from six down to five since the LCS 6 has not started and the equipment that has been purchased could be used on the other LCS.

It also said that although the number of LCS was reduced from six to five, the cost of construction of the frigates had increased from RM9.128 bil to RM11.22 bil.

It said the RM2.09 bil increase resulted from the cost of design (RM0.211 bil), equipment (RM1.214 bil), insurance and risk (RM0.466 bil), financial costs (RM0.143 bil) and project management costs (RM0.066 bil).

“Delays and increased time are also the main factors for this increase to occur,” it said.

In December 2011, the defence ministry awarded a RM9 bil contract to Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd for six ships as part of the Royal Malaysian Navy’s fleet renewal plan.

A contract was eventually signed in July 2014. BNS would build the six ships with the help of French naval company DCNS beginning in 2015.

The first vessel was slated to be delivered by April 2019, and the five ships to be handed over in six-month intervals until 2023. However, none had been delivered.

In 2018, the short-lived Pakatan Harapan government formed a special committee to investigate the contract, which eventually discovered that not a single ship had been completed despite the fact that Putrajaya had already paid out RM6.08 bil for it. – Oct 9, 2023


Main pic credit: Bernama

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