Back in March, Malaysian Defence reported that the government was mulling to purchase the LMS Batch II from Turkiye. And the main candidate is the Ada-class corvette/light frigate. Now industry sources are saying that it is the Ada-class which has been selected for the LMS Batch II project.
As this is Malaysia, one already expects something is in the wind. First, originally it was decided that this will be a government-to-government deal to ensure that the issues with the LCS did not happen again. RMN chief was reported to have said that they were still negotiating whether it will be to G-to-G or a commercial deal.
The talk now is that it will not be a GtG deal and that the tender for the LMS Batch II will be announced at LIMA 2023 starting this May 23 (whether it will be published, issued, or just announced is beyond me). If a tender is announced clearly the project will be conducted through a commercial deal. That said, this might just be a ploy to get companies to exhibit to LIMA is a valid point as well (though the industry thinks otherwise, see below).
As for the second issue on the Ada-class, the cost is said to be over the LMS Batch II budget. Malaysian Defence reported that the budget for the project is to be around RM4.1 billion spread over two RMK, three ships this RMK 12 (2021-2025) and others -five more in RMK 13. The report states:
With a budget of RM2.5 billion, the fully equipped LMS Batch II should cost around RM833 million per ship which is still lower than the average price of 900 to 2500 tonnes corvettes, according to AMI International, a defence consultancy. AMI stated that average cost of such corvettes for the last ten years is around US$250 million (around RM1.05 billion) per ship.
This was not an issue before as Malaysian Defence reported that the plan was take some of the equipment bought for the LCS for the LMS Batch IIs. However, this will not work now as the government is determined to complete five LCS and most likely, the last one as well.
It is because of this the industry thinks a smaller ship, like the Dearsan C92 and Damen Sigma 92 corvettes are more suitable based on the budget. Hence it is for this reason, the industry thinks that a tender will be announced or issued at LIMA 2023.
Source: Malaysian Defence