South Korea’s HHI (HD Hyundai Heavy Industries) made an announcement during LIMA 2023 that it is seeking to export new batches of LMS (Littoral Mission Ship) to the Royal Malaysian Navy. Malaysia earlier announced that it will launch a new project to introduce additional LMS’ to their naval fleet.
According to local media, Malaysia’s new LMS Batch 2 project mainly aims to acquire more agile and faster ships than LMS Batch 1, as Batch 2 ships will be mainly used in a rapid deployment for interception purposes, namely the interception of drug trafficking and illegal fishing. It has also been announced that Malaysian Parliament approved the acquisition of three LMS Batch 2 ships.
Malaysia has previously acquired four Keris-class patrol class from China between 2017 through 2021, however these ships have been heavily criticized by the Royal Malaysian Navy for not having the necessary combat capabilities. Its operational unreliability and the underperformance of the ship itself has also been discussed and criticized by the operator.
As LMS Batch 2 will be thrice in size than Batch 1 ships with a displacement of around 2000 tons, the ships clearly need to be more reliable and capable at the same time. As it turns out, Malaysian defense minister Datuk Seri Utama Mohamad Hasan quoted this April that “new LMS will be acquired from countries that have a clear capacity and record of building multiple ships.”
While sources have not yet mentioned which bidder would eventually win the contract, HHI remains confident that it could win the contract from the Royal Malaysian Navy for the Batch 2 LMS as they hold a good reputation in shipbuilding industry worldwide.
More recently, HHI won the contract from the Philippines Navy for 6 OPV’s (Offshore Patrol Vehicle) last year, as well as winning two other contracts from the same operator back in 2016 and 2021 and successfully delivered the ships without any operational hazards. With this experience in the region, HHI aims to export three LMS (HDC-2000 based model) to Malaysia in coming months. HDC-2000 is based on the HDF-2600 design (Jose Rizal-class frigates) which is roughly 100 meters in length, 13 meters in width and can cruise up to 25 knots. It is also armed with one 76mm main gun and capable of operating one helicopter onboard for maritime surveillance and ASuW (Anti-Surface) / ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) operations.
“Our company’s pride lies in the satisfaction of overseas operators using our products with high degree of completeness and reliability, but with cost-effectiveness. HHI will actively engage in Navy (RMN, Royal Malaysian Navy)’s Multi-Role Support Ship Project and the Coast Guard (MMEA, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency)’s Multi-Purpose Mission Ship project in parallel with LMS Batch 2.”
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