09 Maret 2012
CN-235 Korea Coast Guard (photo : Taegu Lee)
State-owned aircraft maker PT Dirgantara Indonesia (DI) dispatched on Friday the fourth CN-235 maritime patrol aircraft for the Korean Coast Guard (KCG) from its plant at the Husein Sastranegara International Airport in Bandung.
The aircraft is making a ferry flight from Bandung to Kimpo Airport in Seoul after a ceremony attended by, among others, Defense Deputy Minister Lt. Gen. Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin, Industry Deputy Minister Alex Retraubun and South Korean Ambassador to Jakarta Kim Young-sun.
Sjafrie said the delivery proved that Indonesian defense production, especially aircraft, had been accepted at a regional level and was preparing to gain acceptance at an international level.
“The airplane delivery is part of mutual-benefit cooperation between the two countries. We expect this reciprocal relationship to keep improving,” he said in his speech.
Meanwhile, Kim told the attendees that he was pleased and grateful that PT DI had finally delivered the fourth and last CN-235 for the KCG.
“It is particularly encouraging to know that the defense-industry cooperation has grown steadily and expanded considerably in recent years. I believe our defense-industry cooperation is characterized by mutual benefit based on mutual trust through win-win cooperation,” he said.
The ambassador pointed out that Indonesia had ordered a number of South Korean-made aircraft such as the KT-1 Wong Bee trainer and T-50 advanced jet trainer.
Indonesia has also signed a contract to buy three submarines from South Korea and both countries are currently developing a new jet fighter codenamed KFX/IFX.
PT DI president director Budi Santoso said the last aircraft should have been delivered in December 2011 but there was a technical problem with the radar delivery.
“The radar was ordered by the Koreans and the delivery was late. So it was not our fault and no penalties were imposed,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the ceremony.
Budi said the company received non-cash assistance of US$100 million from state lender Bank BNI. A loan of similar value had been secured from another state lender Bank BRI to work on nine C-295 medium transport airplanes procured by the Defense Ministry.
The C-295 is a larger derivative, developed by Spain, of the CN-235 which is jointly designed and jointly produced by both Spain and Indonesia.
Sjafrie expected two C-295s could be delivered before October this year.
PT DI aircraft integration director Budiman Saleh said the contract for the four aircraft was signed in December 2008 in Seoul. The first two aircraft were delivered in 2011 on March 7 and 13 respectively while the third aircraft was delivered on Dec. 23.
He said the aircraft was designed for maritime surveillance and SAR missions, being equipped with various features and instruments such as search radar, forward looking infra red (FLIR), IFF interrogator, tactical navigation, tactical computer system, camera and bubble windows.
Budiman and 10 technicians are on board the airplane during the ferry flight to demonstrate PT DI’s commitment to its customers. Capt. Adi Budi Atmoko is the pilot with Capt. Esther Gayatri Saleh as co-pilot.
Esther said the aircraft would first fly to Tarakan in East Kalimantan in a five-hour flight and rest overnight (RON) there. From Tarakan, the airplane will fly for about four hours to Clark Base in the Philippines for refueling before continuing the journey to Taipei in a three-and-a-half hour flight.
After another RON in Taipei, the aircraft is expected to arrive in Gimpo airport in Seoul on Sunday after flying for about four hours from Taipei.
South Korea is a potential market for PT DI as the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) currently operates six CN-235s for transport missions and two airplanes for VVIP transport. ROKAF also operates 12 CN-235s made in Spain. PT DI spokesman Sonny Saleh Ibrahim told The Jakarta Post that South Korea still had an option for another eight CN-235s.
“We will start negotiations in 2013 to convert this option into a firm order,” he said, adding that the option was for both the KCG and ROKAF.