RI pushes back deadlines after delay on submarine infrastructure
Nany Afrida and Wahyoe Boediwardhana
The Jakarta Post
The government is still working on the infrastructure needed to accommodate three new submarines from South Korea, with the project scheduled to be completed in December.
Based on the procurement contract between the government and Daewoo Shipbuilding Marine Engineering (DSME), the submarines were scheduled to be delivered last year and this year.
Now, the Defense Ministry has revealed that South Korea will be ready to deliver the three submarines by September, however, as Indonesia has yet to complete the necessary infrastructure, the delivery has been postponed until December.
'The government has disbursed Rp 1.5 trillion [US$112.1 million] to PT PAL for building the submarine infrastructure, including hangars and floating equipment,' Rear Admiral Leonardi, chief of the Defense Ministry's procurement center told The Jakarta Post in Jakarta recently.
It was reported that the Defense Ministry and DSME signed the contract for the three Chang Bogo-class submarines in 2011. The contract was worth $1.07 billion.
Under the contract, two submarines would be built in South Korea in cooperation with state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL, while the third submarine would be built at PT PAL's facilities in Surabaya.
Leonardi said that besides infrastructure preparation, Indonesia also needed to train the crew members and operators who would be building the submarine in Surabaya, East Java.
'We're confident all plans are on track, because we have already pushed back the deadline,' Leonardi said.
That optimism is also shared by PT PAL production director Edy Widarto, who said that the development was still on track and would be accomplished in December.
According to Edy, PT PAL's new submarine infrastructure will have the capacity to build or restore two submarines at once.
'We can even use the same infrastructure to build a surface warship, such as missile destroyer warship [PKR], which we will build with Dutch shipbuilder Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding [DSNS],' Edy told the Post in Surabaya on Wednesday.
Edy acknowledged that there was a delay in the plan due to budget disbursement issues. However, he asserted that submarine modules would be delivered from South Korea in December, and that PAL would start to assemble them in January 2017.
Edy said PT PAL would assemble the modules under the supervision of DSME's experts.
'Our technicians are ready. We have good quality people. We have the necessary experience to assemble warship modules quickly and accurately,' Edy said.
PT PAL is an experienced ship builder, the company having built several warships for the Indonesian armed forces (TNI) and also products for sale overseas.
In addition to Chang Bogo-class submarines, the Indonesian Navy has revealed its plans to purchase another two new Kilo-class submarines from Russia to expand its fleet. The procurement is part of a strategic plan for 2015 to 2019.
However, the Navy has yet to decide on which type of Kilo-class submarines to order.
Submarines, with their stealth capacity, are regarded as effective deterrents and Indonesian needs at least 12 such vessels to protect its territory.
The Navy currently operates two German-made submarines, the KRI Cakra ( 401 ) and KRI Nenggala ( 402 ), which were built in the 1980s. The vessels are due to be decommissioned in 2020.
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