Navy turns to locally made missile boats
Rear Admiral Leonardi, the Defense Ministry’s chief of the procurement center, firmly pushed the button, turning on the laser cutting machine that immediately started cutting a Krakatau Steel-produced steel sheet with perfect precision.
The act, which took place at the assembly hall of state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL in Surabaya, marked the commencement of the construction of the 60 meter-long Fast Missile Boat (FMB), also known as KCR60M, which was ordered by the Indonesian Navy.
“Since PT PAL has constructed the previous three FMBs, we expect that the flaws found on those boats would be corrected and improved upon on the fourth boat so it would be an improved version,” Leonardi said recently.
He said that the Navy had gained confidence in operating domestically-built warships. The confidence, he added, was reflected in the increasing number of orders placed by the Navy on domestic shipbuilders.
In mid-2017, the Navy plans to commission a batch of three additional 60 meter-long FMBs.
The Navy expected to have seven FMBs in operation by 2017.
Currently, the Navy has three FMBs in operation that began in 2014, another one has just begun construction and an order for the construction of another three would be placed in mid-2017.
The construction cost for the last four FMBs was expected to reach Rp. 2.2 trillion (US$165 million).
Separately, Assistant for Logistics of the Navy Chief Rear Admiral Mulyadi explained that the fourth FMB, which was ordered by the Defense Ministry, and the additional three FMBs, which were ordered directly by the Navy, would feature different characteristics.
PT PAL would build the fourth FMB without any armaments. A weapon control system, guns and missile launchers would be added upon the completion of the FMB.
The additional three FMBs, on the other hand, would be fully installed with armaments during the construction process.
“We tried to have it constructed with full armaments, but due to budget limitations we will build the boat as a platform first and then equip it with the necessary weapons later on,” he said, referring to the fourth FMB.
The cost for constructing the fourth FMB is about Rp. 210 billion, while the cost for constructing the additional three FMBs with full armaments would reach Rp 665 billion each.
“The 60 meter-long FMBs would use European-made combat management systems (CMS) that have excellent reliability, while the 40 meter-long FMBs would use Chinese-made CMS,” he added.
Fully Armed Landing Platform Dock
PT PAL CEO M Firmansyah Arifin disclosed that in addition to the three additional, fullyarmed FMBs, the Navy planned to commission a Banjarmasin-class landing platform dock (LPD), an amphibious warship able to transport and land troops as well as equipment.
“We are still in discussion with our Navy counterparts on the detailed specifications,” Firmansyah said.
The company has, in the past, built three LPDs for the Navy. It also won a tender to construct a strategic sealift vessel (SSV) for the Philippines’ Navy and, recently, secured an order from Malaysia’s Navy to construct a Multirole Support Ship (MRSS).
“The contract with Malaysia’s Navy will be inked next August. There is a possibility that they will order more than one MRSS. The platform for MRSSs is similar to the one for the Indonesian Navy’s LPD and the Philippines’ SSV. However, the MRSS will be bigger, 163 meter-long, and fully-armed.”
The orders from foreign navies, he stressed, proved that PT PAL possessed shipbuilding technology on par with that of other countries’ shipbuilders.
(The Jakarta Post)