The Royal Malaysian Navy commissioned KD Keris, the lead ship for the Keris class of Littoral Mission Vessels, on 6 January. The commissioning ceremony took place at the Wuchuan Shipbuilding Industry Co. Ltd’s Wucang Port facility in Qidong, near Shanghai. The ceremony was officiated by the chief of the Royal Malaysian Navy, Admiral Tan Sri Mohd Reza Mohd Sany.
Present at the commissioning ceremony was the Malaysian Ministry of Defence’s deputy secretary-general (development), Mastura Ahmad Mustafa, as well as senior officials from Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd and China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Co. Ltd.
The Admiral read out the commissioning declaration for KD Keris at the ceremony, giving the ship its Kapal Diraja (KD, or Royal Ship) prefix and marking its official entry into service with the Royal Malaysian Navy. He put on the commanding officer’s insignia for Commander Mohd Zulkarnain Mohd Rawi, the first commanding officer of the KD Keris. Commander Mohd and the crew of the KD Keris then presented a salute following the hoisting of the ship’s commissioning pennant.
Following her commissioning, KD Keris will sail from Qidong to her home base in Sepanggar Bay, near Kota Kinabalu, the state capital of Sabah. She is due to arrive there on 17 January.
KD Keris is the lead ship of the Keris class of Littoral Mission Vessels, and was handed over to the Royal Malaysian Navy on 31 December. There are currently four ships of the class, although it is planned for there to eventually be 18 ships in the class in total.
The Keris-class is a jointly developed project with China. Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd is the lead contractor on the project, with construction of the ships performed by China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Co. Ltd. It was previously planned for the first two ships to be built in China and the second two ships to be built in Malaysia, but a renegotiation of the contract to reduce costs following the 2018 general elections resulted in the decision being made for all four ships of the class to be built in China. Boustead is already proposing an indigenous Revolutionary Littoral Mission Ship as a follow on to the four ships of the Keris-class.
The Keris-class Littoral Mission Ships are a key part of the Royal Malaysian Navy’s “15 to 5” program, which aims to reduce the 15 classes of ship currently in service with the Navy to just 5, namely Littoral Mission Ships, Multi-Role Support Ships, Littoral Combat Ships, Patrol Vessels and submarines.