LUMUT: The project on the reconstruction of the littoral combat ships (LCS) is expected to begin three months after the sixth supplemental agreement is concluded, said Navy chief Admiral Datuk Abdul Rahman Ayob.
Abdul Rahman said the contract which is being prepared by the Defence Ministry would see several amendments to the timeline and costs.
"As we are aware, the Cabinet meeting held on April 19 had agreed to continue the LCS project. This is an important decision to proceed further.
"If the agreement (contract) is finalised, we hope that the LCS project will be able to commence as early as possible," he told a press conference after officiating at the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) ceremonial parade at Lumut RMN base here today.
Earlier, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said the LCS project will proceed and the first ship is expected to operate in 2026.
Earlier, the LCS controversy came to a head when the National Accounts Committee revealed that none of the ships have been completed even though the government had paid RM6.083 billion to Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd.
Meanwhile, Abdul Rahman said the supplemental agreement is expected to be finalised and signed at the Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition 2023 (Lima 2023) in Langkawi scheduled to take place from May 23 until May 27.
On the littoral mission ship (LMS) project, he said the priority is now on asset acquisition to replace the obsolete RMN vessels.
"At the moment, the main focus is procurement of LMS Batch 2 as approved in the 2023 Budget.
"The assets received from the first batch did not meet the standards, we expect the second batch to have better combat capabilities and we hope the procurement process will be finalised soon," he said. – BERNAMA