June 9, 2015

Philippines Increasingly Interested in Submarines

The Philippines is acquiring new patrol boats and perhaps submarines (in future) to defend several territorial claims. This includes claims in the South China Seas - called "West Philippine Sea" in the Philippines (Map courtesy Wall Street Journal via Chinh's news)
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Which South Korean submarine might be right for the Philippines' defence budget, needs and tastes? The Philippines is interested in acquiring submarines. However submarines are expensive, rapidly become obsolete and cannot be bought used without substantial upgrades and repairs. The Philippines' usual US Navy or US Coast Guard suppliers have no conventional submarines to sell. 

Korea may possibly be a submarine seller and could use the opportunity to build alliance relations with the Philippines.

  Too expensive? To maintain parity with such neighbours as Malaysia and Indonesia the Philippines would need two or three middle sized subs - perhaps the South Korean made Chang Bogo class ? But the Chang Bogo costs $500+ million apiece. 
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South Korea has two Dolgorae class mini submarines (above) launched 1990 and 1991, 175 tons, with two small 410mm torpedo tubes. They have crews of 14 and may be used for surveillance and perhaps special forces. They were bought by South Korea in the 1980s to accustom its Navy to submarine operations. On cost grounds this submarine, or an update up to 200 tons, may be the best submarine for the Philippines to start with.
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Maybe too expensive to start with. In 2011 South Korea indicated it would be building new subs to replace the Dolgoraes but this has not happened. The development costs, passed on to the first customer for the KSS-500A (above) would therefore be high. Specifications 510 tons, 37m long, 4.5m wide, diving depth 250m, max speed 20 kn, cruise speed 7 kn, endurance 3 weeks, range up to 2,000 miles, crew of 10. New Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) only propulsion charged at wharf or LIBs and diesel engines. Maki Catama of ASEAN Military Defense Review reports that Hyundai also offered the 500A to Thailand (as the HDS-500RTN) but this offer/sale was not taken up.

TKMS designed and used Kobben submarines (from the Poland Navy) may be a possibility, if heavily upgraded, or more practically new build TKMS 210mods.

As there are some similarities in the Philippines' and Thailand's requirements please connect with Submarine Matters Thailand May Eventually Purchase Two Submarines, March 25, 2015. 

BACKGROUND

The Philippines is becoming sufficiently concerned about maritime territorial disputes (eg. in the South China Sea, known as the "West Philippine Sea" in the Philippines) that it is seeking new vessels and aircraft. Japan is seeking stronger bilateral relations with key countries in the region, including the Philippines:

- Japan is selling (or planning to sell?) the Philippine Coast Guard 10 patrol boats (44m long) with a loan of  ¥19 billion ($150 million total) from Tokyo based Japan Marine United
-  Japan may also be offering (used?) P-3C Orion patrol aircraft built by Japan's KHI

Japan became an expert mini-sub user/builder in World War Two (even attacking a ferry boat in Sydney Harbour) but I don't know of any current Japanese plans to build modern mini-subs.

Philippines ABS-CBNnews.com reported May 27, 2015 http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/05/27/15/philippine-navy-eyes-submarines-deterrence :

"Philippine Navy eyes submarines for 'deterrence'

MANILA - The Philippine Navy said acquiring submarines is part of the plan to modernize the military, but admitted it won't be easy and can’t happen overnight.

Nonetheless, an office to handle the development of submarine capability has been put up, said Navy chief Vice Admiral Jesus Millan.

“What we are pursuing of course is to take the initiative. The first important thing is to acknowledge the importance of such capability for our future requirements,” he said.

He said the office can help the military gain knowledge of a new defense capability.

“That is why, our initial step in the Navy is to establish an office to start learning about this discipline. It’s important that we learn about it and prepare our troops who will be involved in the development of such capability,” said Millan.

Navy vice commander Rear Adm. Caesar Taccad said in December [2014] that the submarines can be used as “deterrence.”

The Philippines is embroiled in a dispute with several nations over ownership of the potentially oil-rich West Philippine Sea. China is aggressively pursuing its claim via reclamation in several islands and reefs within the area.

Taccad had said the submarines will serve as a deterrent “so other countries will not try to interfere with our [peaceful] exercise of sovereignty over our maritime areas.”

Millan said the submarines, “can bring a lot of help to us. As you can see, there are instances that it can perform non-traditional roles, even in search and rescue or in doing things that are beyond the capabilities of surface assets. These things can help us.”" ENDS

Pete

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Pete,

Poland operates 4 Kobben-class submarines with a displacement of just 485 t submerged. Poland is interested in bigger submarines like Type 212/214 or A26. So these small subs could be soon back on the market.

Regards,
MHalblaub

Peter Coates said...

Hi MHalblaub

The Kobbens - where HDW Type 207s - might be of interest to the Philippines however:

- these are very old subs built 1963-66, old hulls and welds needing renovation
- would need to anticipate effects of much more salty Pacific waters on the hull
- would need to be tropicalised-airconditioned for the much warmer air and sea Pacific temperatures than Poland-Baltic Sea
- need to maintain advisers-support, spares, deep maintenance, maybe from Poland, Germany or South Korea?

If not for all the upgrades-repairs needed the Philippines may find Kobbens attractive.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi MHalblaub

As the TKMS Type 210mod may be up there with the 209/Chang Bogo in responding to the Philippines' needs I've mentioned the 210mod in the text.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete,

Maybe Saab can create an updated Gotland class, same size and weapons but updated internal systems? Being a bit small in size and crew requirements, and also its price, it maybe more palatable for the Philippines' budget and plans. Some sites say it is around USD 210 - 365 million (circa 2010 sources).

http://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2010-06/right-submarine-lurking-littorals
http://www.nyteknik.se/nyheter/fordon_motor/fartyg/article42700.ece

Herbie

Peter Coates said...

Hi Herbie

Gotlands would need to be updated as the three existing Gotlands were launched in 1995-96. I see that two of them are being updated http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gotland-class_submarine#Overhaul .

It may be that Sweden is marketing small versions of its proposed 2,000 ton A26. The going rate for Western built subs of 1,000 tons (surfaced) is around US500 million.

Thanks for http://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2010-06/right-submarine-lurking-littorals in particular - a very interesting reference.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Dear Pete,

the Polish Kobben-class submarines were updated in 2002 before entry into service with Poland.

The submarines were built for North Sea as salty as other oceans around the world. They are quite old now but still a valuable asset. It would be a cheap start for the Philippines to learn how to use submarines. 2 or 3 could be used for training and the rest for spare parts.

"tropicalised-airconditioned"? Not for beginners!

As I remember Poland did get them for free.

Regards,
MHalblaub


Anonymous said...

There is the same very affordable choice as next door neighbour, an improved Kilo. There is even a training maintenance center across the small pond in Cam Ranh bay. Of course be able to do some Klubbing when in absolute dire straits may be beneficial.

Peter Coates said...

Dear MHalblaub

I've been thinking about the Philippines first submarines and I hope they don't think me presumptious in saying they need new submarines. Interim very old non air-conditioned submarines would give the Philippines second rate, and possibly dangerous to operate subs. Philippine subs will be required to meet challenges from a first-rate threat, China.

The Philippines also is working in some competition with neighbours having new subs, including Vietnam (soon SIX Kilos), Malaysia (2 Scorpenes), Indonesia (soon 2 Chang Bogos and 1 to build). Singapore probably has the most powerful, experienced sub force of any ASEAN country.

So Filipinos cannot muddle through with hot, sweaty, hidden rust-corroded, 1960s subs for the next 20 years as the Philippine Navy has serious tasks to do. There is an ongoing West Philippine Sea confrontation.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

At the moment, I don't see the Philippine Navy ever getting Submarines. They don't have a reliable Surface Navy and Aviation Navy to Begin with. On top of that, they never developed any good ASUW, ASW tactics. That's why I think for the Philippines to get submarines, they first need to build a Reliable Surface Navy and as of right now, they do not have a Reliable Surface Navy.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous [June 11, at 6:22 AM]

Kilo's might be slightly cheaper upfront price. But compared to Western, including South Korean, submarine makers Russia does not have a good advice, deep maintenance, upgrade reputation. Just ask the Indian Navy who have bought many Kilos (difficult Klub upgrades) and can compare after sale service that have backed up the DCNS (Scorpenes) and TKMS (209s) subs India has bought over the years.

In any case US influence in the Philippines (as on Australia) is such that our two countries cannot buy weapons that disturb US expectations.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Dear Pete,

old German submarines are not that bad. Columbia did receive two Type 206 in 2012. Despite the numbering the Type 207 or Kobben-class are 10 years older than the Type 207.

With a military budget of just $3 billion a year the Philippines just can not afford new submarines. Even Indonesia with a budget of $8 billions will receive refurbished Type 209 from South Korea. South Korea operates 9 Chang Bogo-class submarines to be replaced by 9 Type 214. So there are 4 submarines left for the Philippines.

I still think the Kobben-class would fit better. A nice "refurbishment" could be to replace the whole diesel generator drive engines with LIBs. KISS!

Regards,
MHalblaub

Nicky said...

What about the Södermanland-class submarine that are due to be retired in 2019/2020. They could be one option to get them started in the submarine game. I was thinking that the Kobben class Submarine, Type 206, older Chang Bogo class SSK and Södermanland-class submarine are all good entry level SSK submarines for the Philippines.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous [at June 11, 2015 at 2:54 PM]

You are probably right - however a have a few points-hopes :)

- Sometimes Submarine Services develop differently from surface "skimmers" navy. Submariners forming a tight group who are acutely aware of the need for the safe and efficient functioning and tactics of their subs.

- The Chinese can easily see and "lean on" Philippine patrol ships-boats but can't see (hopefully very cautious about) any future Philippine subs.

- If the Philippines starts to consider new subs now it will likely take 7-10 years until they're delivered - so much progress in surface ship efficiency can be achieved in that time.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Dear MHalblaub

Used Chang Bogos for the Philippine Navy might make a good compromise as they are big enough and not too old.

Are you sure Indonesia is receiving USED Chang Bogos? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chang_Bogo-class_submarine#Sales indicates:

"In December 2011, DSME won a contract to build three 1,400-ton Chang Bogo-class submarines for Indonesia at a cost of $1.07 billion. Construction of the submarines will start in January 2012 for delivery by 2015 and 2016, for commissioning in the first half of 2018."

Well if the Philippines wants Kobben-class I'm happy to volunteer as an adviser in the sale :) Do you speak Polish at all?

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

I like your photograph. One hump or two?

Good thinking on the Södermanland-class. They already have Stirling air independent propulsion and Sweden is used to tropicalising its subs (2 Archers, new airconditioning, for Singapore).

Yes Södermanlands, Kobbens, 206s-207s, Chang Bogos - so many subs out there to enjoy. I wish I could afford at least a Kobben for the weekend :)

Regards

Pete

Nicky said...

Hi Pete,
The problem I see with the Philippines is that they don't have a surface navy to build on. They don't even have Corvettes, FAC's and Frigates. All they have is Gunboat frigates and Gunboat patrol boats. They talk about getting a Frigate, but that seems to be put on hold or it's full of crap. I think the problem with the Philippines is that they squandered their military for over 2 decades and in that time the world has modernized and they seem to be stuck in the 60's era military.

So for them to say they want Submarines and haven't built a creditable Surface Navy with Frigates, Corvettes and FAC's with creditable ASW/ASUW and AAW capabilities is so ridiculous. At the moment their only largest ship is the used Hamilton class Cutters from the US Coast Guard. They don't even have one missile or one torpedo in their fleet. They are just a Gunboat Navy and haven't built the capability.

I have seen so many Filipino's who tried to argue with me over them claiming they are getting this and getting that. I have seen them claim to say they are getting the Incheon class Frigate or F-16's or Gripen's. The problem with them is that they can't see reality and the reality of their current budget, GDP and Economy can't support getting submarines without getting a reliable Surface Navy first.

Though, if the Philippines were to get Submarines, it would be within the 10 to 15 year range. That is because they have to build up their Surface Navy capability with Frigates, Corvettes and Fast attack Craft with ASUW/ASW and AAW capability. They have to have a reliable Air force to protect the Navy and have a reliable Air defense.

If the Philippines wanted Submarines, they have to start first with educating their engineer's. Build up the infrastructure and industry to support submarines. Build up Education institutions to support submarine training and education. At the same time, they have to start sending people overseas to learn submarine operations.

As for the Philippines getting Submarines, I do think the Older Chang Bogo class SSK, Kobben class SSK, Södermanland-class submarine, Type 206 and older type 209's, Sauro-class submarine and Agosta-class submarine from Spain are one option as entry level beginners submarine. They would need entry level submarines before they move up to the AIP.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

Yes there are no missiles on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BRP_Gregorio_del_Pilar_(PF-15) "considered as one of the most modern warships in Southeast Asia" but launched in 1965.

Some comptition to obtain https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USCGC_Jarvis_(WHEC-725) but Bangladesh triumphed.

Up to 42 all-gun 15m https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine_Navy#Multi-purpose_attack_craft_.28MPAC.29 on the way.

Many plans for missile carrying ships, naval helicopters, fast jets.

Maybe a US return to Subic Bay will again resolve the need for a modern navy http://www.smh.com.au/world/philippines-divided-over-us-return-to-subic-bay-20121119-29m4m.html

Yes having engineers and technically minded officers are an essential preliminary for inherently risky submarines ops.

Regards

Pete

Nicky said...

Hi Peter,
Your right that that for the Philippines to get in the Submarine game, they need to have Engineers and technically minded officers. Right now they don't have any and like I said if the Philippines ever wants to get into the Submarine game, its going to take them at least 10 to 20 years. They need to revamp their education system to support submarines. As I see it, the Philippines have a long, road before they ever venture into the Submarine game. If they do want Submarines, would you think the Bangladesh, Singapore or Vietnam plan would work for them.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

The Vietnmamese route of stating with mini-subs (it started with https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yugo-class_submarine ) would sound best for the Philippines on cost and technical risk grounds.

South Korea would probably be the best supplier with experience in mini-subs, can build them and then build larger subs for the Philippines. Politically the Philippines can't really seek North Korean or Russian help. South Korea is much more viable politically.

Regards

Pete

Nicky said...

Hi Peter,
Here's the $64,000 dollar question. What mini sub or coastal SSK sub do you see as a beginner SSK submarine for the Philippines

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

I propose to market a new development of South Korea's Dolgorae class sub to the ppines
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolgorae-class_submarine

Cheers

Pete

Nicky said...

Hi pete,
Check out this story and looks like the Philippines are desperate for Submarines
http://www.mb.com.ph/ph-plans-to-acquire-submarine-navy-captain-now-schooling-in-germany/

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

Thanks for locating http://www.mb.com.ph/ph-plans-to-acquire-submarine-navy-captain-now-schooling-in-germany/

Looks like the Philippines, like Taiwan, are just hoping against hope that some country, like the US, will buy submarines for them.

Neither the Philippine, nor Taiwan, is talking the serious money to buy submarines or build them.

Note that the P25-billion (P + Philippin Peso) only amounts to just over US$53 million for the Entire Philippines defence force.

Regards

Pete

Nicky said...

Hi Pete,
It seems like the Philippines or Taiwan are just hoping that the US will either buy the submarines for them or simply finance them. I don't think the Philippines have the money to seriously buy any SSK Submarines, let alone a 2nd hand Submarine. On the other hand, Taiwan has Submarines, it's just a matter of them building that capability to build their own. Which is why I think the Philippines are too early into the SSK Submarine game.

Also, Here's something on the Issue with Indonesia and their Submarines.
http://www.globalindonesianvoices.com/22464/two-submarines-too-little-for-indonesia/

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

On Indonesian and Taiwan subs

Thanks. I read http://www.globalindonesianvoices.com/22464/two-submarines-too-little-for-indonesia/ and immediately found it inaccurate when it said "Singapore which has one submarine" Singapore has four and "Japan (3 submarines)" Japan would have around 20 submarines. Indonesian journalists usually have no idea about subs.

Where the Indonesian article says "According to Ade Supandi, the Navy had ordered three new submarines from South Korea. They will be ready by April 2017, the admiral said." It is possible the first TWO improved Chang Bogo class (Type 209) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_209_submarine#Chang_Bogo_upgrades.2Fvariant for Indonesia might be handed over to Indonesia by 2017. However Indonesia says it want to build the THIRD Chang Bogo in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. That Third sub may take several additional years to complete.

Taiwan intend to spend tiny sums see http://news.yahoo.com/taiwan-launch-homegrown-submarine-plan-initial-t-3-050214414.html . Even US$100 million per year is a sum for design and planning, not construction, of one 1,000 ton sub. Taiwan would need to spend US$ 1 Billion a year to start to build subs.

Regards

Pete

Nicky said...

Hi Pete,
That's why I think both Taiwan and the Philippines are over reaching. The Philippines are the worst case cause they don't even have a reliable Surface Navy and to think they want submarines without a reliable Navy with missiles and torpedo's is laughable. I simply think the Philippines are living in the Post Korean war, Vietnam war era mentality.

As far as Indonesia, I simply think that they don't have enough for their Area.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

All very true.

The Philippines attracted much US military support (the Philippines main national money earner) when the Russians had large forces in Vietnam 1970s-about 1990. Now the Russians have only small forces there and Vietnam is a communist-capitalist hybrid. So the US is unwilling to bankroll the Philippine military or maintain large US bases there.

Turning to Indonesia - its Navy has had some extravagant ideas of having 10 Kilos on top of the three new Chang Bogo/209s they're buying.

Indonesia is not that rich per capita. So maintaining and crewing 13 subs while having a balance of surface units is way beyond Indonesia.

Regards

Pete

Nicky said...

Hi pete,
This may Interest you because I think the Philippines have gone crazy thinking they are planning on getting a submarine. Check out what this one blogger has to say. http://maxdefense.blogspot.com.au/2015/09/clarifications-on-reported-submarines.html

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky [September 14, 2015 at 9:56 PM]

Yes the Filipino blog is certainly smitten with subs http://maxdefense.blogspot.com.au/search?q=submarines . If only the Philippines had one US$Billion to buy a couple.

Regards

Pete

Nicky said...

Hi Pete,
I know, if only the Philippines had the US Budget but they don't in reality.

Anonymous said...

A correction regarding the Philippine defense budget. The money earmarked to modernize the Philippines armed forces converts to $540 million. Well, maybe $530 million back in Sept. But anyway, you missed a zero. Still not enough. Despite what the media says, cooler-headed Filipino observers guessed that a submarine procurement is more likely 5-10 years away, and it's likely to start by acquiring a used submarines from somewhere. Those guys did consider the Polish submarines, but there really isn't any point talking about it until after a year or two after the upcoming election when we can see how much funding the new government is willing to allocate on defense.

I can find no evidence that Indonesia is getting refurbished submarines from South Korea. At best as I can tell, it was a rumor spread by some Russian fanboys for who knows what reason.

Indonesia's extravagant wish to buy 10 Russian Kilo was, as far as I can tell, driven by its defense minister, who seems to be a pretty hardcore Russophile. Also, apparently Russia promised a three billion dollar credit line to finance this. I can find no corroboration for this supposed credit line though. Cooler-headed Indonesian observers I talked with says that Indonesia may buy two Improved Kilo, but there is nothing concrete about that and it might be zero given the current Indonesian economic weakness.

Anonymous said...

Addendum to my comment from yesterday. An article from rtbh.com confirmed the $3 billion credit. Also said that it will be 5 Amur submarines. I am skeptical of rtbh.com, but the $3 billion matches what Indonesian sources said, so that part seems correct.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous re Philippine subs [at October 14, 2015 at 9:23 PM]

Latest calculations is that the entire annual Philippine defence budget is around US$546 million. This may be enough for one NEW submarine (with spares and training) if the Philippine Army, Air Force and surface ship types spend nothing for a year.

The Polish subs are too old and hence would be unsafe. The Philippine Navy may rely on 50 year old used US Coast Guard Cutters and used US Navy ships but submarines need to be in good repair to be safe.

On the 3 Improved Chang Bogo (Type 209) subs for Indonesia see the South Korean Company (DSME) as in: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chang_Bogo-class_submarine#Sales indicates:
"In December 2011, DSME won a contract to build three 1,400-ton Chang Bogo-class submarines for Indonesia at a cost of $1.07 billion. Construction of the submarines will start in January 2012 for delivery by 2015 and 2016, for commissioning in the first half of 2018."

Note the table under that statement.

The Indonesian Navy has been talking about Kilos for years - a bit like the Pakistanis talking about those elusive "8" Chinese subs. If Indonesia wants to buy from Putin it can enjoy the isolation.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous on Russia Indonesia [at Oct 15, 2015 2:10PM]

Thanks for the 5 Amur tip. $3 billion sounds like what they would cost - for a start.

I googled up http://www.therussophile.org/3-key-areas-in-russia-indonesia-ties.html/

which says:

“In September 2015, the Indonesian government said it would buy a squadron of Sukhoi Su-35 fighters to replace its outdated U.S.-made F-5 Tigers. Jakarta also plans to buy 5 Russian submarines.

Initially Indonesia looked at buying Kilo-class diesel electric submarines, but later chose the more advanced Amur-class submarine, which is the export version of the Lada-class. Russia is ready to loan Indonesia $3 billion for these purchases.

According to industry analysts, Indonesia may also be looking to buy medium-range anti-aircraft missiles. The country already has a number of Sukhoi fighter jets, Mi-17 and Mi-35 helicopters, BMP-3 amphibious infantry fighting vehicles, one BTR-80 wheeled amphibious armored personnel carrier and Kalashnikov AK-101 and AK-102 rifles.

Nuclear energy

In June 2015, the countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the construction of large nuclear reactors and floating nuclear power stations.

In an interview with RBTH Indonesia, [Indonesia’s] ambassador to Russia Djauhari Oratmangun said nuclear power plants could help meet Indonesia’s growing demand for electricity.”

My Comments - The Amurs and Russia-Indonesia building reactors in an earthquake/Tsunami zone are particularly significant if they eventually come true.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Re: Philippine Defense Budget
Philippine has this practice where the "defense budget" is actually composed of several separate budgets. There is the general Department of National Defense Budget, which covers most of personnel and operational costs. There is the AFP Modernization Fund, which is a special fund from which the DND is supposed to buy new stuff/upgrade current stuff. There some other budgets that is minor and I'm not familiar with anyway.

For 2016 the proposed defense budget was some 111 billion peso for the DND, some 25 billion peso (around $546 million) for the Modernization Fund, and some other items I don't actually know for a total 172 billion peso. (I'm pulling this from memory, so I might be off.) This can be verified easily by looking at Philippine media sources. Filipino defense enthusiasts often focus on the 25 billion number because this is really what they can "play" with and I suppose it possible this is then considered the whole defense budget by foreign media unfamiliar with Philippine practice. I am not saying that you are wrong about the impossibility of buying submarines currently, just that the $546 million is not the entirety of their defense budget.

As for Polish submarines... I make no judgment on that. And it's too early anyway. We don't know whether their next government will continue the current policy or go back to dismantling their defense or speed up the rebuilding. A few of their candidates have spoken for rapprochement with China, and the rest is still silent on the defense issue. The Philippines really need to up their defense budget to around 2% GDP first.

Re: Indonesia
Indonesian military officials and politicians, egged by Russia, have often stated that they are going to buy this or that from Russia without consideration on what they're going to use it for or how they are going to pay for it. There is a small but vocal Russophile faction, but most of the time the sane majority prevails and those statements were quietly ignored. However, once in a while they do throw a bone at the Russophiles to placate and retain their political support. I rate the Su-35 procurement as likely, and the 5 Amur submarine procurement as unlikely. A half-half compromise of 8 Su-35 and 2 Amur is also possible. Militarily that is nuts, but hey, politics. Getting both is financially impossible and irresponsible. Even Russian credit doesn't stretch that far.

Russia also make lots of noise about selling nuclear power plants to Indonesia. This is actually pretty plausible. Despite the Ring of Fire location, the physics of plate tectonics actually means that there are several geologically stable spots in Indonesia. Some of these spots are sufficiently inland or sheltered to be safe from tsunami. Whether Indonesia will build utility scale nuclear power plants and who gets the contract remains to be seen though. I am quite certain that Indonesia will build them eventually though. Indonesia will run out of natural gas within 20 years and of coal within 50 years and despite all the talk about renewables, the actual growth rate of renewable energy use in Indonesia is not enough.

However, in the near term, the only confirmed plan to build a nuclear reactor in Indonesia is the 30 MW experimental reactor in Serpong to replace the 30 year old experimental reactor of similar rating (used to make medical isotopes and breeding new rice variants, among other things, but not actually connected to the power grid) that is reaching its end of service life. Russia is likely to get this project, but this is still far far away from an actual nuclear power plant. Russian media has this habit of talking big, but the actual realization is often much smaller and more uncertain than they make it to be.

(And because I am a nuclear energy proponent, let me add that the self-imposed ban on Australian nuclear energy is crazy. Technology has advanced. The Cold War is over. Howard is right.)

Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous [at October 15, 2015 at 9:02 PM]

All the comments on Indonesia "Hunt for the Putin Kilo or Amur" quest are getting interesting. I'll write up some of your knowledgable comments for the next article.

Regards

Pete