17 April 2014
The SGPV-LCS will not have an integral rotary wing UAV capability as originally planned (image : DCNS)
The Chief of the Royal Malaysian Navy, Admiral Tan Sri Aziz Jaafar, has confirmed that the RMN’s planned 6-ship Second Generation Patrol Vessel – Littoral Combat Ship (SGPV-LCS), will not have an integral rotary wing UAV capability as originally planned.
Speaking to Shephard, Admiral Tan Sri Aziz stated, ‘it is now low on our priority list for the capabilities of the ship and unlikely to be on the ship’. He declined to confirm as to whether the cost of such a capability would put it beyond the RM9 billion (USD2.77billion) ceiling price in the contract awarded to Boustead Naval Shipyards though he stated that Malaysian Armed Forces outlook on UAVs was that it was preferable that all three services look towards long range and long endurance fixed wing UAVs for their operational use.
Originally the plan called for all 6 of the 3,000t SGPV-LCS, which is based on the DCNS Gowind design to have the capability to operate a rotary wing UAV with each ship though only two of the ships at any one time would carry and operate UAVs on operations as it was felt that it would be too costly to outfit each ship with its own permanently assigned UAV. It is likely that the fact that the SGPV-LCS has an embarked helicopter capability made the forgoing of a UAV capability acceptable.
Planned construction of the SGPV-LCS is scheduled to begin later this year with the first ship to be delivered in 2017 and subsequent ships delivered every six months thereafter.