February 20, 2012

Further Delays to Indonesian Submarine Purchase Plans

Where have the Indonesian Kilo submarines gone? of August 26, 2009 highlighted significant contraditions in Indonesian statements concerning the purchasing process for two new submarines (to replace its two old HDW 209s) as well as lengthy delays. The following article from Jakarta Globe, October 5, 2009, implies longer delays:

"...[Navy Chief Admiral Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno] had expressed his displeasure two months ago when he heard a senior official from the Ministry of Defense tell a journalist that the government had decided to postpone the purchase. Further evidence of that decision surfaced when the submarine purchasing program was conspicuously absent from the 2010 budget approved by the House of Representative last week.

Tedjo told journalists that the Navy would get in line with the government decision to table the purchase of submarines until 2011, which means the vessels would not be received until 2014.
...He said the plan to purchase new subs had been based on current defense threats in the region, citing a low-level underwater arms race with neighboring countries like Malaysia, which has recently received the first of four [wrong - Malaysia has received one and only one more on order] French-made Scorpene subs on order.

Tedjo said due to the delays in the purchasing plans, the country would have to rely more heavily on diplomacy and other “soft power” approaches. “And we are also trying to increase the capacity of our existing fleet, such as plans to use missile launchers on patrol ships we already own,” Tedjo said.

Separately, Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono said limitations in the defense budget had forced officials to a review all plans to purchase weaponry. “And recent natural disasters have made us switch our plans to purchase transport aircraft, ships and vehicles, rather than purchasing heavy weaponry,”..."
Given that it usually takes 5 years from announced intention to buy (2011) the Indonesian Navy may well see the first of its new submarines (probably from Russia or South Korea) in a Javanese port no earlier than 2016. Still the ability of the Navy to handle the increasing number of Indonesia's identified natural disasters is understandably a higher priority.