The Jakarta Post
After failing to secure a contract for the procurement of new submarines several years ago, the Russian government has again approached the Indonesian government to offer Kilo Class Type 636 submarines to bolster the country's maritime defense system.
Defense Ministry spokesperson Col. Djundan said that on Thursday Russian ambassador MY Galuzin had met with Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu to discuss military and defense partnerships between the two countries.
'Russia is ready to provide several important weapons systems, including the Type 636 submarine, Su-35 Sukhoi jet fighters and MI-17 helicopters,' Djundan told The Jakarta Post on Friday, adding that Russia was also ready to hand over the technology.
He declined, however, to say whether the offers had been accepted, saying the ministry was still working to find the best new weapons systems for the country.
Submarines are known to be effective war machines that can act as a deterrent because of their capacity for stealth.
The Russian 636 type submarines are mainly intended for anti-ship and anti-submarine operations in shallow waters.
The type is also resilient to weather conditions.
Countries that operates this class of submarines include Algeria, China, India, Romania and Vietnam.
Indonesia has a long history of operating submarines from the former Soviet Union. In 1967, it acquired 12 Whiskey Class submarines from the superpower.
'Indonesia has had a military partnership with Russia since the administration of the previous Russian president. I hope the military partnership will thrive in the future,' Ryamizard said during the meeting.
In 2009, Russia and South Korea competed to secure a contract for submarines for the Indonesian Navy, with South Korea eventually winning.
Indonesia signed a contract in 2011 with Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) from South Korea to build three Chang Bogo-class submarines worth some US$1.07 billion. Two are to be built in Korea while the third will be built at PT PAL's facilities in Surabaya as part of a transfer of technology scheme.
In 2013, Indonesia held talks with Russia to procure a number of Kilo- class submarines, under the leadership of then defense minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro.
Purnomo held talks with Galuzin to discuss the procurement of the submarines, but no deal was struck.
The Navy currently operates two German-made submarines, KRI Cakra ( 401 ) and KRI Nenggala ( 402 ), which were built in the 1980s. The submarines will be decommissioned in 2020.
'Indonesia needs at least 12 submarines to control its territory,' then Navy chief of staff Adm. Marsetio said in December.
In the meeting with the Russian ambassador, Ryamizard also expressed his interest in procuring amphibious aircraft.
The defense minister said that such aircraft would be very important for conducting surveillance operations in the country's maritime territory.
'The aircraft can be used for policing illegal fishing and evacuations at sea,' he said.
It was reported earlier that President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo and Russian President Vladimir Putin had met during the APEC meeting last year, and that the pair had agreed to resume their partnership in defense and military technology.
President Jokowi also met the director general of Russian arms agency Rosoboronexport and the Russian ambassador on Dec. 8. During the meeting, the President confirmed that Indonesia was interested in partnering with Russia on military technology.
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