Indonesia’s signing of a contract to procure three submarines from a South Korean company is an effort to keep pace with other countries in the region.
The order will more than double Indonesia’s existing fleet of two submarines; the KRI Cakra and KRI Nenggala.
Andi Widjajanto from the University of Indonesia, told the The Jakarta Post that ordering three submarines was not enough as the 2024 Defense Strategic Plan required 10 submarines as the minimum essential force.
“Actually it is rather late because other countries in the region have received or are already building new submarines,” he said over the phone.
“So far Indonesia’s move is more to catch up with developments rather than to match them.”
Separately, Indonesian Navy spokesman Commodore Untung Surapati told the Post that ideally 14 to 18 submarines were needed to monitor the country’s vast waters.
He added that with some 200 submariners, Indonesia would have no problems in terms of crew numbers or quality in operating the new vessels.
The Indonesian Defense Ministry and Daewoo Shipbuilding Marine Engineering (DSME) signed the contract on Tuesday evening to build the three submarines, the ministry announced on Wednesday.
The contract was signed by the ministry’s Defense Facilities Agency chief, Maj. Gen. Ediwan Prabowo, and DSME president and CEO Nam Tae-sang.
Witnessing the contract-signing were the South Korean Ambassador to Indonesia Kim Young-sun and South Korean defense attaché Col. Cheol Moo-dae as well as officials from the Indonesian Defense Ministry, Indonesian Military (TNI) and Navy headquarters.
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 facilities in Surabaya.
Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Hartin Asrind told the Post over the phone that the contract was worth US$1.07 billion and construction would start in January.
“The deliveries will be in 2015 and 2016,” he said on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, The Korea Herald reported on Wednesday that the submarines would weigh 1,400 tons and be 61.3 meters long. Each submarine will carry up to 40 crewmembers and have eight weapons tubes for torpedoes and other weapons.
DSME plans to complete the contract, the largest single defense contract to be awarded to a Korean firm, by the first half of 2018, it said.