13 Februari 2011
SGPV will adopt Gowind Littoral Combat Ship class type with alength of 99.5 m and the full weight of 2200 tons (photo: DefenseUpdate)
Defence Analysts Rubbish Opposition Allegations On 'High Cost' Of Ships
KUALA LUMPUR, (Bernama) -- Defence analysts have rubbished allegations by an opposition member of parliament that the government's move to procure six Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) costing RM6 billion, costs 870 per cent more than what other countries paid for similar ships.
A defence and security analyst, Dzirhan Mahadzir, said the comparison made by DAP's Petaling Jaya Utara parliamentarian Tony Pua in a local news portal was based on widely different ships.
"The government amount is within a reasonable estimate of how much it will cost with the capabilities said to be present for the SGPV-LCS (Second Generation Patrol Vessel - Littoral Combat Ships)," he told Bernama here today when asked to comment on Pua's statement in the website.
Sharing a similar view, Asian Defence Journal editor M. Ghazemy Mahmud said the high cost in the procurement of the six LCS was rational, taking into consideration the capability and sophistication of the ships.
"Although the vessels were based on the corvette design, it is actually known as LCS and its equipment is far more sophisticated, capable and superior than the earlier six Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs), hence the higher cost," he said.
Ghazemy said, due to the complicated and complex nature of the building of the naval ship, it was easy to be confused over the actual cost and type of naval ships.
Details of one type Gowind class ship (image:DCNS)
"The figure (RM6 billion) is standard ballpark in the naval ship building industry. Only those in the industry can understand the complex nature of naval ship building," he said.
He said the procurement was part of an overall programme planned more than a decade ago where the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) wanted to built 27 corvette-type warships to replace the British-made patrol vessels bought in the 60s and 70s.
Dzirhan, a correspondent for Jane's Defence Weekly, said the procurement of the six LCS would not only increase the number of RMN fleets in facing the 21st century challenges, the vessels' planned sensors and radars would also give RMN an enhanced sea surveillance capability to detect and prevent piracy and terrorism activities.
"By their planned capabilities for anti-air, anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare, the ships will greatly enhance the capabilities of the RMN to meet such threats (piracy, terrorism and territorial disputes) in times of war," he said.
On the issue that the purchase of the vessels was not made through competitive bidding as compared to other developed countries, Dzirhan said Pua had got the facts wrong.
Dzirhan said RMN Chief Tan Sri Abdul Aziz had earlier said the ships would be built by the Boustead Naval Shipyard, in collaboration with one of the six overseas shipyards which was shortlisted.
"The RMN has requested for quotations and proposals solicitated from foreign companies at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition in 2009.
"In fact, it has been reported since then on several occasions about this fact, and that the government was looking at the various foreign proposals.
Also, similar examinations of quotations and proposals are being conducted on the ships' weapon systems, radar, electronic equipment and sensors, all of which will be sourced from various foreign suppliers," he added.
He said however, all these were being conducted behind closed-doors, "not just because the government wants it so, but also because the companies do not want disclosures of their proposals and offer prices to be available to their competitors.
"Dzirhan said the experience in building the ships and the transfer of technology and expertise would allow the local defence industry to develop capabilities to meet the government's goal of self-sufficiency in defence.