Friday, August 31, 2012

Indonesia expects stronger navy fleet

Indonesian Defence Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said yesterday that the government was expecting to procure a dozen submarines to augment Indonesia's existing fleet by 2024.

Yusgiantoro said that a deal to purchase three of these submarines was signed in December 2011. The submarines are being built in cooperation with South Korea.

He said that the joint-production programme will transfer South Korea's technological knowledge of submarines to Indonesia.

The first submarine will be entirely the product of South Korea while the second will be built together with Indonesian workers. Yusgiantoro expressed hope that Indonesia would have learned enough about submarines to be able to build the third independently.

"By the third, we hope to be able to build our own submarines. They will be built in Indonesia, by Indonesians." Yusgiantoro said at a press conference, after a meeting of the Defence Industry Policy Committee (KKIP).

The Indonesian Defence Ministry and Daewoo Shipbuilding Marine Engineering (DSME) signed a contract in December last year to build the three submarines.

The contract was signed by the ministry's Defence Facilities Agency chief, Maj. Gen. Ediwan Prabowo, and DSME president and CEO Nam Tae-sang.

Under the contract, two submarines will be built in South Korea in cooperation with state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL, while the third submarine will be built at PT PAL's facility in Surabaya.

The submarines will weigh 1,400 tonnes and be 61.3 metres long. Each will carry up to 40 crew members and have eight tubes for torpedoes and other weapons.

The KKIP had its seventh meeting yesterday since it was established in 2010 based on Presidential Regulation No.42/2010 regarding technological research and development in defence and industry.

The meeting mapped out the government's plan to coordinate various sectors of the economy so the country can build the third submarine by itself.

Under the plan, the Education and Culture Ministry will facilitate the nation's arms independence by training and providing human resources in weapons manufacturing.

More importantly, the State-Owned Enterprises Ministry will be playing a key role in Indonesia's submarine-building project.

The ministry controls state-owned shipyard company PT PAL which will acquire knowledge on South Korea's submarine technology. The knowledge will allow Indonesia to create a maintenance and overhaul centre for submarines.

PT PAL has dispatched technician to observe construction of the first ship, and will have gained sufficient knowledge by the end to be able to build the third in Indonesia.

Yusgiantoro said that the strengthened fleet would better protect Indonesia.

"Based on our calculations, two-thirds of our country is water. We need at least 10 submarines to protect it," Yusgiantoro said.

"We hope to be able to achieve this goal by 2024," Indonesian Military commander Adm. Agus Suhartono added.

In 2024, Indonesia expects to have reached the country's minimum essential force requirement. Some 150 trillion rupiah (US$15.8 billion) will have been spent to pay for the modernisation of the nation's weapons-defence system between 2010 and 2014.-Asia News Network (August 30, 2012)

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