Indonesian Navy set to have locally built frigate in 2016

The Indonesian Navy will soon have its own locally made frigate when the construction of the PKR 10514 guided-missile destroyer escort is completed in 2016.

Navy chief of staff Adm. Marsetio led a keel laying ceremony for the PKR, which the navy classifies as a frigate, at the state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL Indonesia in Surabaya on Wednesday. The warship is being built under the supervision of Dutch shipbuilder Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS).

"The PKR frigate will have the modern surface warfare capabilities being equipped with [anti-ship] Exocet missile, anti-submarine warfare with torpedoes, anti-aircraft warfare and electronic warfare," Marsetio said after the ceremony.

The new warship is the largest to be built domestically with a length of 105 meters and a width of 14 meters.

Marsetio was accompanied by the Defence Ministry's Defence Facilities Agency chief Rear Adm. Rachmat Lubis, Dutch Ambassador to Jakarta Tjeerd F de Zwan, and DSNS CEO Hen van Ameijden.

The Defence Ministry ordered two PKR 10514s with a contract of US$220 million. The first steel cutting was conducted in January to mark the start of the frigate construction.

Rachmat said the contract already covered training for PT PAL's engineers both at home and in the Netherlands and weaponry for the frigates, which must include domestically made weapon systems.

"Initially the warship was to be fully built abroad but after some 175 discussions, it was agreed that the production would be conducted jointly with PT PAL," he said.

The construction is divided into six modules, of which four would be built at PT PAL's facility while the remaining two, engine and bridge, would be built in Vlissingen.

"Once finished, the two modules from the Netherlands would be brought and assembled here at PT PAL," Marsetio said.

The navy chief guarnateed that although most of the modules were to be built in Indonesia, the quality would still be the same with those made in the Netherlands construction would be conducted under the direct supervision of a special DSNS team.

The first ship is expected to be completed in December 2016 while the second frigate in October 2017.

Meanwhile, van Ameijden was upbeat that the cooperation would go smoothly.

"Early January there was nothing here (the shipyard) but today we can see, there is good progress. [the project] is still ongoing," he said.