Malaysia’s Navy corvette, KD Lekir (C), and Thailand’s Navy frigate, HTMS Naresuan, take part in the inaugural maritime review along the strait near Changi Naval Base in Singapore on May 15, 2017. (ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

BEIRUT — In a first, Malaysia has moved towards acquiring three Turkish-built corvettes, signing a government-to-government memorandum of understanding Monday.

According to the Haluk Gorgun, president of Turkey’s Secretariat of Defense Industries (SSB), the three Littoral Mission Ships (LMS) will be built by Turksih shipbuilder STM for the Royal Malaysian Navy.

“For the first time, Malaysia signed a G2G [government-to-government] Memorandum of Understanding with a country for the supply of defense products. We are happy to be a party to this important agreement,” Gorgun said.

He added that “these important meetings and agreements not only represent significant progress in our defense industry cooperation, but also herald a new strategic partnership era between Turkey and Malaysia.”

According to the announcement, many other Turkish defense firms will be involved in the project, including Havelsan, a software and system integrator firm; Aselsan, electronics specialists; and Roketsan, a missile producer.

10 JUN 2024 | TURKIYE.

Berikut merupakan intipati memorandum persefahaman (MOU) antara dua kerajaan berhubung perolehan kerajaan kepada kerajaan (G2G) untuk produk pertahanan Turkiye-Malaysia.#MinDefMalaysia#MinDefUpdate#Diplomasipertahanan

— MINDEF Malaysia (@MINDEFMalaysia) June 11, 2024

“The successful execution of this project will ensure that the Turkish defense industry is prioritized as a provider in the Royal Malaysian Navy’s other projects in the 15-to-5 Transformation Program to be implemented in the coming period,” Gorgun said. The 15-to-5 Transformation Program refers to the near-decade old plan to modernize the Malaysian fleet.

STM has been keen on expanding its exports of military vessels. It previously signed a large contract to supply Ukranian navy with three MILGEM corvettes, the construction of which Ukrainian President Vlodymyr Zelenskyy inspected in March, and has its eye on the potentially lucrative Gulf market.