Maharaja Lela-class frigate

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ENS El Fateh Aug 2022 (cropped).jpg
A Gowind 2500 corvette of the Egyptian Navy which is the same design as the Maharaja Lela-class frigate[1]
Class overview
NameMaharaja Lela class
Builders
Operators Royal Malaysian Navy
Preceded by Lekiu class
Cost
  • RM 1.5 billion (2011) per unit + ToT (ceiling) or $466 million per ship (excluding cost overruns)
  • roughly equivalent to $562.139 million in 2021 US dollars (excluding cost overruns)
  • RM 9 billion (2011) for 6 units + ToT (ceiling)
Planned6[2]
Building5[3][4][5]
General characteristics
TypeLittoral combat ship (LCS)/frigate
Displacement3,100 tons
Length
  • 111 m (364 ft 2 in) (overall)
  • 105 m (344 ft 6 in) (waterline)
Beam
  • 16 m (52 ft 6 in) (main deck)
  • 14.2 m (46 ft 7 in) (waterline)
Draught3.85 m (12 ft 8 in)
PropulsionCODAD 4 x MTU 20V 1163 M94, each rated at 7,400 kW (9,925 shp) Total output: 29,600 kW (39,694 shp) [6]
Speed28 knots (52 km/h; 32 mph)
Range5,000 nmi (9,300 km; 5,800 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Complement138[7]
Sensors and
processing systems
Electronic warfare
& decoys
Thales Vigile ESM Wallop/Esterline Super Barricade decoy system
Armament
Aircraft carriedVarious types of UAVs and helicopters, weighing up to 10 tons
Aviation facilitiesStern hangar and helicopter landing platform

The Maharaja Lela-class frigate, also known as the littoral combat ship (LCS), is a class of six stealth frigates being built for the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN).[2] First announced as the Second Generation Patrol Vessel in 2011, the ships are based on an enlarged version of the Gowind-class corvette, designed by Naval Group, formerly known as DCNS of France.

The contract has been finalised and it has been decided that all six ships will be built by local shipbuilder Boustead Heavy Industries Corporation (BHIC) for the RMN at a ceiling price of RM9 billion (US$2.8 billion), starting from 2015.[10] With the ships being 111 metres (364 ft 2 in)s long and a displacement of 3,100 tonnes (3,100 long tons), it would be the largest and most modern surface combatants in the Royal Malaysian Navy to date once delivered, being longer and more capable than the Lekiu-class frigate.[11]

Development[edit]

In early 2011, Malaysia announced its SGPV program with a budget of RM6 billion (US$1.9 billion) and six foreign shipbuilders announced interest in the project, most notably ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems with the MEKO 200 and Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding with the Sigma class 10514 as well as Naval Group's Gowind-class corvette which was ultimately selected.[12]

In late 2011, it was announced that the Gowind class had been chosen and that the SGPV program had been awarded to Boustead Heavy Industries Corporation (BHIC)/Naval Group, with the ceiling price increasing to RM9 billion (US$2.8 billion) from RM6 billion (US$1.9 billion). The RM9 billion (US$2.8 billion) contract included intellectual property rights and technology transfer.[13] The ships' sizes had also changed in accordance with the increase in ceiling price, increasing from 2,700 tonnes (2,700 long tons) to 3,100 tonnes (3,100 long tons). All six ships will be built in Lumut, Malaysia and electronic components will be assembled in Cyberjaya, a township in Malaysia just south of Kuala Lumpur.

At DSA 2014, BHIC confirmed that the program is progressing rather well, with some parts already in critical design review the first ship expected to be finished by 2019. BHIC was in charge of designing the Malaysian specification.[14]

On 5 October 2014, RMN chief Admiral Aziz told IHS Jane's that construction of the first of the six ships had started at the BHIC facilities in Lumut, and reiterating a 2019 delivery date for the first ship and the remaining five ships delivered at six-month intervals thereafter. It also stated that RMN's current planning schedule called for sea trials of the first ship to be carried out in 2018 and operational entry in 2019.

Delays[edit]

In 2020, the Malaysian government announced that the LCS project had encountered some delays.[15] The Ministry of Defence awarded the project to BHIC in 2011 and at least two vessels slated by 2020 had not been delivered. The Ministry of Defence considered two options to resolve the delayed RM9 billion LCS project by BHIC. The first option required BHIC to complete the first of two ships, while the second option was for the government to ask Naval Group (the original designer) to complete the ships; the latter option was rejected by parliament.[16]

Following the delays, the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said it would call up former defence minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh said former RMN chief, Admiral Abdul Aziz Hj Jaafar and the main contractor of the LCS project, BHIC would also be called.[17] Pangkor assemblyman Zambry Abdul Kadir said about 200 vendors and contractors would shut down and 10,000 workers would be affected if the LCS program continued to be delayed.[18] On 5 May 2021, the Malaysian government decided that it would retain BHIC as the class' shipbuilder.[19] In November 2021, Minister of Defence, Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein said, the first ship will be commissioned in 2025.[20]

On August 4 2022, the PAC reported that RM1.4 billion had been misappropriated and that the project had been awarded through direct negotiations without an open tender.[21] The then-defence minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had reportedly accepted the navy's preferred choice for a Sigma-class design on 26 May 2011, but then decided in favour of the Gowind-class design on 11 July 2011 after a discussion with Boustead Naval Shipyard.[22] Then-chief of navy Abdul Aziz Jaafar protested against the choice and later stated that the RMN had fought a "losing battle, right from the start", citing that the Sigma was a proven concept with other navies operating it, unlike the Gowind design.[23]

On 16 August 2022, former managing director of BHIC Ahmad Ramli Mohd Nor was charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust in Sessions Court, where he pleaded not guilty. The accused had previously served as chief of navy prior to his BHIC appointment.[24] The following day, Senior Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that a Royal Commission of Inquiry is expected to be established to investigate the procurement process and subsequent non-delivery of the ships.[25]

Characteristics[edit]

General[edit]

Specifications

  • Displacement – 3,100 tons
  • Length – 111 m (overall) / 105 m (waterline)
  • Breadth – 16 m (main deck) / 14.2 m (waterline)
  • Draught – 3.85 m
  • PropulsionCODAD
  • Maximum speed – 28 knots
  • Range – 5,000 nm at 15 knots
  • Crew – 138
  • SurvivabilitySea State 9
  • Endurance – 21 days
  • Aircraft carried – 1 × Super Lynx 300 / Fennec AS555 / EC725

Sensors[edit]

SMART-S radar for the SGPVs

It is believed that the RMN had requested for Thales Herakles radar that used on the FREMM frigates but BHIC had instead chosen the SMART-S.[26] These following sensors have been chosen for the ships.

  • Combat System: Naval Group SETIS
  • Search radar: Thales SMART-S Mk2
  • Fire control radar: Rheinmetall TMEO Mk2 electro-optical tracking system & TMX/EO Mk2
  • Sonar: Thales CAPTAS-2 ASW suite with hull sonar and towed array sonar

Armament[edit]

The stealth 57 mm gun to equip the SGPVs, seen with the barrel retracted

The Bofors 57 mm gun will be mounted in a stealth cupola similar to the ones mounted on the Swedish Visby-class corvettes. This frigate also equipped with two MSI DS30M 30 mm cannon as a secondary gun. BHIC also announced that there has been 16 Sylver VLS allocated on the deck of the ship for the surface-to-air missile although the missiles not contracted yet as of 2019. At the LIMA 2015, while the actual Naval Strike Missiles were not specifically mentioned as included in the contract, Kongsberg has received a Letter of Award worth approximately 20 MEUR with Boustead Naval Shipyard in Malaysia, for NSM (Naval Strike Missile) ships equipment, that is, the delivery is to prepare for NSM antiship missiles onboard the upcoming RMN's LCS which will consist of the necessary fixed installations such as launchers, cables, electronics and integration to the combat management system SETIS to be provided by DCNS;[27] the report implies the actual cruise missiles are under a separate contract. For the anti-submarine capabilities, it is confirmed that the ships will be equipped with two J+S fixed triple torpedo launcher.[28]

Ships of the class[edit]

Name Pennant number Builders Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
Maharaja Lela 2501 BHIC 8 March 2016 24 August 2017[29] expected 2025
Syarif Masahor 2502 28 February 2017[4] expected 2026
Raja Mahadi 2503 18 December 2017[3]
Mat Salleh 2504 31 October 2018[30]
Tok Janggut 2505 TBA[31]
Mat Kilau 2506

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Gowind Corvettes".
  2. ^ a b c "Malaysian Ministry of Defence Confirms Construction of Gowind ships for LCS program". navyrecognition.com. 28 October 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Keel Laying Ceremony for Third LCS - Malaysian Defence".
  4. ^ a b "No Quarter - Malaysian Defence".
  5. ^ "No Quarter". malaysiandefence.com. Retrieved 1 Sep 2017.
  6. ^ https://www.bhic.com.my/doc/LCS.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  7. ^ "NavyRecognition". Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  8. ^ "LIMA 2015 update". Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  9. ^ "Letter of Award for NSM ships equipment with Malaysian Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd". Navy Recognition. 9 April 2015. Retrieved 9 April 2015.
  10. ^ Abas, Marhalim (17 July 2014). "SGPV-LCS Contract Formalised". Malaysian Defence. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  11. ^ "Royal Malaysian Navy Releases First Official Image of its LCS-SGPV Corvette". navyrecognition.com. 27 August 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  12. ^ Abas, Marhalim (22 February 2011). "SGPV or LCS...Part II". Malaysian Defence. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  13. ^ Abas, Marhalim (17 December 2011). "SGPV/LCS/ Frigate awarded to BNS/DCNS Ceiling Price Goes Up to RM9 billion". Malaysian Defence. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  14. ^ "Malaysian Navy Gowind SGPV LCS program update at DSA 2014 with Boustead". Youtube.
  15. ^ "Here We Go Again LCS - Malaysian Defence".
  16. ^ "Boustead: No comment on littoral combat ship project resumption until official confirmation". 10 May 2021.
  17. ^ "Defence ministry wants RM180 mil for delay in combat ship delivery".
  18. ^ "Ismail Sabri: Cabinet to decide on fate of littoral combat ship project".
  19. ^ Rahmat, Ridzwan (12 May 2021). "Malaysia retains Boustead as shipbuilder for LCS programme". Janes. Retrieved 2021-05-18.
  20. ^ "Kapal Pertama LCS Disasar Siap Pada Tahun 2025". 15 November 2021.
  21. ^ "Malaysia to charge ex-top official of contractor firm linked to combat ship scandal". The Straits Times. 15 August 2022. Retrieved 17 August 2022.
  22. ^ Radzi Razak (17 August 2002). "Declassified investigation report finds Zahid changed LCS design against Royal Malaysian Navy's wishes". Malaymail. Retrieved 17 August 2022.
  23. ^ "Ex-Malaysian navy chief says complaints to Najib, Zahid about ship contract unheeded". The Straits Times. 15 August 2022. Retrieved 17 August 2022.
  24. ^ Rahmat Khairulrijal (16 August 2022). "LCS fiasco: Former Navy chief charged with 3 counts of CBT [NSTTV]". New Straits Times. Retrieved 17 August 2022.
  25. ^ Rashvinjeet S Bedi (17 August 2022). "Proposal for royal commission to probe Malaysia's warship deal presented to Cabinet: Defence minister". CNA. Retrieved 17 August 2022.
  26. ^ "Thales SMART-S Mk2 radar and CAPTAS- 2 towed sonar confirmed for Malaysia LCS program". navyrecognition.com. 18 February 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  27. ^ "Letter of Award for NSM ships equipment with Malaysian Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd". 9 April 2015.
  28. ^ "J+S Ltd to supply the Torpedo Launching System for the Royal Malaysian Navy LCS/SGPV corvettes". navyrecognition.com. 24 September 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  29. ^ "Royal Malaysian Navy Launched its First LCS Gowind Frigate KD Maharaja Lela".
  30. ^ "Fourth LCS Keel Laying Ceremony - Malaysian Defence".
  31. ^ "Here We Go Again LCS - Malaysian Defence".

External links[edit]