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First LCS KD Maharaja Lela Set for Delivery to Royal Malaysian Navy in 2026.

The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) is gearing up to welcome its first new Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the KD Maharaja Lela, in August 2026. This significant milestone was marked by the successful launch of the ship into water on May 23, 2024, an essential event that allowed for testing the stability and structural integrity of the unit.
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The LCS program plans for the construction of five ships, with KD Maharaja Lela being the first (Picture source: Malaysian Navy)

Construction of the KD Maharaja Lela continues at the Lumut Naval Shipyard (LUNAS), where equipment installation and system integration are currently underway. These stages will be followed by Harbour Acceptance Tests (HAT) and Sea Acceptance Trials (SAT) scheduled for the end of the year.

The Ministry of Defense in Kuala Lumpur has confirmed that the construction of LCS1 is on schedule, with the vessel being launched as planned on May 23 at 6:30 pm. The Defense Minister, Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, visited the shipyard to closely monitor the progress of the project, a crucial element to ensure that the RMN starts receiving the combat ships by the end of 2026. The downslip activity is vital for the shipyard to complete the system integration before testing on various platforms and combat systems that will be carried out at the end of 2024.

The LCS program plans for the construction of five ships, with KD Maharaja Lela being the first. The delivery schedule for the remaining four LCSs is also on track, with the final ship expected to be completed in 2029. These ships will be delivered at eight-month intervals starting with LCS2 in 2027. This project is crucial for the RMN to increase the readiness and operational capacity of the fleet while strengthening national sovereignty.

The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) has a diverse fleet and continues to enhance its ability to ensure regional security in Southeast Asia. Among its primary assets are two Lekiu-class frigates, KD Jebat and KD Lekiu, designed for anti-submarine warfare, and six Kasturi-class frigates, including KD Kasturi and KD Lekir, which have been upgraded to improve their combat and detection capabilities.

The fleet also includes Kedah-class corvettes, based on the MEKO 100 design, primarily used for maritime surveillance and border security. Regarding submarine capabilities, the RMN operates two Scorpène-class submarines, KD Tunku Abdul Rahman and KD Tun Razak, equipped for discreet reconnaissance missions, mine deployment, and torpedo launches.

The patrol and support ship fleet is robust, with several classes of patrol vessels, including the recent Keris-class ships, which enhance coastal patrol capabilities. The strategic logistic support ship, KD Sri Inderapura, plays a crucial role in supporting long-distance operations.

Internationally, the RMN actively participates in multinational exercises such as the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA), enhancing defense cooperation with Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. The RMN also collaborates with the United States in exercises like SEACAT and CARAT, aimed at improving maritime security and rapid threat response capabilities. Bilateral partnerships are also vital, with regular exercises like SAMUDRA LAKSAMANA with India, and collaborations in patrol and maritime technology with China and Indonesia.

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