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LCS ‘Maharaja Lela’ Successfully Launched In Perak

LCS ‘Maharaja Lela’ Successfully Launched In Perak

The ship will be delivered to the Royal Malaysian Navy in 2026

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Last year the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition and the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) announced a new contract to restart the Littoral Combat Ship program.

Due to financial difficulties, the original builders, Boustead Naval Shipbuilding, had to halt work in 2019. The revised agreement includes the nationalisation of Boustead Naval Shipbuilding, which is now known as Lumut Naval Shipyard and is overseen by the Finance Ministry (MOF), and lowers the number of ships from six to five, with delivery scheduled between 2026 and 2029.

With the new contract in place, the LCS 1 Maharaja Lela was successfully launched for the first time this year.

This information came to light after the RMN shared a video of the ship being launched at Lumut Naval Shipyard on 23 May.

The launching ceremony was attended by Malaysia’s Defense Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Khaled Nordin and other dignitaries.

According to Khaled, the first LCS in the nation is being built according to schedule. He also added that the remaining construction of the LCS is progressing as planned.

By August, the ship should be fully outfitted. Then, in collaboration with Naval Group, the team that created the larger Gowind corvette upon which the LCS ships are based, a collaborative evaluation of its design will come to an end.

The updated programme plan states that the LCS 1 Maharaja Lela harbour acceptance tests will start in November 2024 and the sea acceptance testing in October 2025. August 2026 is when the RMN intends to accept delivery of the ship.

Littoral Combat Ship

The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is a class of small, fast, and agile surface vessels designed for operations near shore, developed primarily for the United States Navy.

There are two main variants: the Freedom-class and the Independence-class. These ships are characterized by their modular design, allowing them to be equipped with interchangeable mission packages for different roles such as anti-submarine warfare, mine countermeasures, and surface warfare.

Screenshot from YouTube/Naval News

Their high speed, shallow draft, and advanced automation make them well-suited for operations in coastal and littoral waters.

LCS In Malaysia

Malaysia’s interest in the LCS is driven by strategic and operational needs. Its extensive coastlines and vital maritime routes require effective patrolling and surveillance capabilities, which LCS ships can enhance.

Malaysia’s strategic location at the confluence of critical maritime routes, such as the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca, necessitates a strong naval presence to ensure freedom of navigation and protect national interests.

Screenshot from YouTube/Naval News

Regional tensions in the South China Sea and other security challenges make it essential for Malaysia to bolster its naval capabilities to deter potential aggressors and assert its sovereignty.

The LCS program is a key component of the RMN’s modernization efforts, providing advanced platforms for modern naval operations.

Screenshot from YouTube/Naval News

Protecting Malaysia’s maritime economic zones, including rich fishing grounds and significant oil and gas resources, is critical for the country’s economic stability.

Enhancing interoperability with regional and international partners through modern naval assets like the LCS aligns Malaysia’s capabilities with those of its allies, facilitating joint operations and exercises.

Screenshot from YouTube/Naval News

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