Last week, one of Indonesia’s guided-missile frigates underwent a round of combat system upgrade testing. While the development was expected, it nonetheless spotlighted the Southeast Asian state’s ongoing attempts to boost its maritime capabilities.
Indonesia has long been engaged in an effort to strengthen the country’s maritime capabilities in recognition of the sobering reality that it needs more vessels and aircraft to fully monitor what is the world’s second longest coastline. That priority has continued on under Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, with a focus on aspects such as boosting the country’s nascent but growing defense industry.
One aspect of this are Indonesia’s SIGMA 10514 PKR guided-missile frigates, where construction has occurred in a partnership between Indonesia and Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS). Since the execution of the project began in 2013, the program has seen not just the delivery of the vessels, but a more comprehensive arrangement by both sides including extensive knowledge and transfer of technology, training for crew on usage and maintenance, and the installation of combat systems.
Last week, Indonesia’s maritime capabilities were in the headlines again with the completion of another round of combat system upgrade testing for KRI Gusti Ngurah Rai (332), the second frigate in the class with the first being KRI Raden Eddy Martadinata (331). DSNS announced that it and its Indonesian partner PT PAL had finished the installation and test of a combat system enhancement package for the second of the Indonesian Navy’s two SIGMA 10514 PKR guided-missile frigates, with the view of demonstrating that the installation of the entire chain of weapons systems was in line with desired efficiency and accuracy.
Per a statement released by DSNS on March 18, the company said that the combat systems installed and tested included VL MICA for defense from airborne threats; exocet for defense from offensive targets at greater distance; the torpedo system for protection against submarine threats; the 35 mm rapid-fire cannon to respond to threats from both air and sea; the electronic detection system to divert enemy attacks with electromagnetic redirection; and modification of the computer operated operational system. In the statement, Hein van Ameijden, managing director of DSNS, said that the successful tests, which had been completed on February 21, demonstrated the reliability and robustness of the “complete concept” implemented in the SIGMA PKR Class.
The testing effectively constituted the final phase of this process before redelivery to the Indonesian navy. And with this now complete, the focus will shift to how Indonesia actually uses the frigates and what its future plans might be in this regard with respect to both existing and potentially new vessels.