Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The RM 6 billions OPV contract for TLDM, oops sorry they are LCS Littoral Combat Ship actually

Since the announcement that the Government is allocating a whopping RM6 Billion to build 6 warships for the navy to defend our shores, we have been exposed to too much military jargons this last few days, first the ships were described as OPVs Off shore Patrol Vessel, then SGPV Second Generation Patrol Vessel and today the Chief of the Navy Laksmana Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar say IT IS a LCS Littoral Combat Ship! The Laksmana also clarified and debunked some of the nonsense written by some Malaysians about the TLDM proposed warships. The news report here from NST/Bernama:

RMN denies cost of LCS excessive

KUALA LUMPUR: The increased cost in materials besides state-of-the art weaponry and other aspects are the reasons why the cost of procuring six Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) is over RM6 billion, said Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) chief Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar.

He said the ships, which would be built locally by Boustead Naval Shipyard in collaboration with six reputable overseas shipyards, had better capability than the Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) RMN was currently using. 
"The cost covers the overall cost of building the LCS including the aspects of sophisticated weaponry, sensing and radar equipment that have very high capability and also sonar to detect enemy submarines. 

"The national defence industry is growing and depends a lot on foreign expertise and this is the main reason why the LCS cost so much," he told a press conference at his office at the Ministy of Defence here today.

He was responding to comments by Tony Pua, the Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara, which were carried in the Malaysiakini news portal that the six ships cost 870 per cent more compared to purchases of the same by other countries. 

Abdul Aziz said Pua's remarks were off the mark as most nations would not reveal details on their military assets. 

"It could also be that the costs abroad are much lower because the countries concerned have established defence industries and local expertise in ship maintenance and installing weapons and sensing systems. 

"The costs forwarded (by Pua) also do not give a true picture of the overall cost, for example certain countries do not include the cost of GFE (Government-furnished equipment)," he said. 

He added that Pua's claim that the New Zealand navy bought OPVs for just New Zealand Dollar (NZD) 90 million (RM211 million) each was also not correct as based on the ministry's findings, this and the cost of purchasing LCS by that country had yet to be finalised and that the amount stated (NZD90 million) was the price before 2004.

He also said that Pua's claim that the United States navy procured LCS at much lower prices was baseless as the MP did not have in depth knowledge on the matter. 

Abdul Aziz further said that the procurement of the ships was done through the open tender process which would involve 60 per cent of the material to be sourced locally and would stretch over two Malaysia Plans, the 10th and 11th, a period over 10 years (up to 2020). 

He said RMN badly needed the LCS as they had surface and undersea capability unlike the OPVs which had limited capability. 

Furthermore, LCS are equipped with sophisticated defence systems like command and control, electronic warfare, various modes of engine control, three-dimensional radar, sea and air missile systems and anti-submarine torpedo capability, he said. 

Other countries enlisting the use of LCS currently include the United States and England. 

Maybe an LCS looks like this:

Lockheed Martin Design Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)

This is the real deal a picture of a US Navy LCS
Anyway, the Navy should in fact engage and invite DAP whizz Tony Pua  to their Lumut Naval Base to brief him on Naval Ship Operations, after all he is a Member of Parliament.

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