KOTA KINABALU: The project on the construction of the Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) is expected to resume next month, said Navy chief Admiral Datuk Abdul Rahman Ayob.
He said the construction will resume after the sixth supplemental agreement was signed at the 2023 Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition 2023 (LIMA 2023) in May.
"Five LCS vessels will be handed over to the Navy in stages, with the first ship expected to be handed over at the end of 2026," he told a media conference after the closing ceremony of the ANGSA (Air and Sea) Exercise Series 14/23 at the Kota Kinabalu Naval base in Sepanggar, near here, today.
On the Littoral Mission Ship (LMS) project, Abdul Rahman said they were still identifying suitable builders to carry out the project based on the specifications stipulated by Navy.
"The allocation has already been given out, we hope the contract can be signed this year, at the latest, and construction can begin next year as we expect it will take 36 months to be completed," he said.
On the ANGSA Exercise, Abdul Rahman said the joint Navy-Air Force exercise, which began on July 28, involved 2,562 personnel, that also included Armed Forces personnel as support and observation elements.
He said the goal of the exercise was, among others, to assess the interoperability of the Navy and the Air Force, especially in the 3P aspect of People, Process and Platform, with the involvement of assets belonging to the Navy and Air Force.
"This exercise is significant in ensuring both the Navy and Air Force can operate as one military unit that is more versatile and efficient in Malaysia's maritime zones," he said.
Meanwhile, Air Force chief, General Tan Sri Mohd Asghar Khan Goriman Khan, said that the Air Force had signed a contract to purchase a new ATR 72 maritime patrol aircraft which is expected to enter the Air Force's inventory from 2026, in addition to a contract for the first phase of the purchase of three Turkiye-manufactured Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) units.
Earlier, Mohd Asghar Khan said that apart from enhancing the level of preparedness and mutual service between the Navy and Air Force, the ANGSA Exercise this time is a driver for improving tactics, techniques and procedures between the two services at the operational and tactical levels.
"I hope efforts to increase these mutual elements will continue to be further enhanced to form a more mature and reliable task force in the collective implementation of maritime domain operations," he said. – Bernama