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First Malaysian Littoral Combat Ship set for August 2026 delivery.

According to information published by Khaled Nordin on June 4, 2024, the first Malaysian Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), constructed at the Lumut Naval Shipyard (LUNAS), was successfully launched on May 23, 2024. Following the successful launch, construction will proceed with the installation of equipment and the integration of systems. These steps are essential before the ship undergoes the Harbour Acceptance Test (HAT) and Sea Acceptance Trial (SAT) later this year.
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The first Maharaja Lela-class Littoral Combat Ship Maharaja Lela. (Picture source: Facebook of Khaled Nordin)

These vessels, also known as Littoral Combat Ships (LCS), are designed to perform a variety of roles including patrol, surveillance, and anti-surface, anti-submarine, and anti-air warfare missions.

The program, initiated in 2011, selected the Gowind-class corvette design by Naval Group (formerly DCNS) of France. The ships are being constructed by Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS) in Lumut, Malaysia.

The first ship in the class, KD Maharaja Lela, was launched in August 2017, but the project has faced significant delays and cost overruns. Initially scheduled for delivery in 2019, the program has encountered multiple setbacks.

The Maharaja Lela-class ships are notable for their advanced stealth features, with a reduced radar cross-section and low acoustic, infrared, and magnetic signatures. Each ship displaces 3,100 tons, measures 111 meters in length, and can reach speeds up to 28 knots. They are equipped with sophisticated weaponry, including a BAE Systems Mk3 57mm gun, Sylver vertical launching systems for surface-to-air missiles, and Kongsberg Naval Strike Missiles​.

Despite the advanced capabilities and strategic importance of these ships, the program has been marred by financial mismanagement and procurement controversies. An investigation by the Malaysian Public Accounts Committee (PAC) revealed issues such as misappropriation of funds and non-transparent awarding of contracts.

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