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Multirole Support Ships (MSS) will soon be helping to safeguard Malaysian waters, said naval chief Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin.

He confirmed the decision of the government to acquire the MRSS after being informed by Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, and referred to his tweet, which read: “#15to5 on track! #LMS (Littoral Mission Ships) ready to go #MRSS next. Thank you Sir! @HishammuddinH2O.”

The Royal Malaysian Navy is reducing its fleet from 15 to five classes of vessels. Old ships which are too expensive to maintain are being retired and sold, with the money used to buy new vessels.

Last Thursday, after a retreat in Subang Jaya to discuss with armed forces brass the future directions of the ministry, Hishammuddin told reporters that new assets must be purchased by 2020.

"I just want the best assets for the country and I want the best assets for the military. That is my duty as the Defence Minister," he said.

Ahmad Kamarulzaman did not say how many MRSS would be bought, but the RMN is to have 18 LMS and six Littoral Combat Ships.

The LCS are equipped with four-dimensional warfare capabilities against electronic, air, surface and underwater threats integrated with state-of-the-art systems.

The LCS, estimated to be worth RM9 billion, will also be equipped with stealth capability which reduces radar reflection to minimise visibility and detection. The ships,
to be built by Malaysia's Boustead Naval Shipyard in Indonesia, will also be capable of rapid launch and recovery of boats.

The LMS will be developed in China in a joint venture between Boustead and China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co Ltd.

The missile-carrying patrol vessels, equipped with a helicopter deck, are usually used in patrolling the coastal lines and search and rescue missions. They are expected to
cost not more than RM250 million each.

- Bernama