Indonesia lays keel for second PKR frigate

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Key Points
  • Indonesia holds keel-laying ceremony for second PKR frigate
  • Defence minister sees the keel-laying as a vote of confidence in Indonesia's indigenous shipbuilding capability
State-owned shipbuilder PT PAL has held a keel-laying ceremony for the Indonesian Navy's (Tentera Nasional Indonesia - Angkatan Laut, or TNI-AL's) second SIGMA 10514 Perusak Kawal Rudal (PKR) guided-missile frigate, the Indonesian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 11 December.

Defence minister Ryamizard Ryacudu, who presided over the ceremony at PT PAL's premises in Surabaya, described the keel-laying as a vote of confidence in the local shipbuilding industry's capability to produce a complex warship like a PKR frigate.

PT PAL is building two PKR frigates in collaboration with Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) under a skills and technology transfer arrangement. For the second vessel, the Indonesian shipbuilder is producing all of the modules except for the mast/bridge/operations block, which is to be completed by DSNS at its yard in Vlissingen, the Netherlands. For the first ship, PT PAL is responsible for the forward and stern hull modules and the mid and aft superstructure blocks. Both vessels will undergo final assembly and trials in Surabaya.

The Indonesian MoD signed a contract with DSNS for the first vessel in December 2012, while an option for the second ship was exercised in mid-2013. The frigates are scheduled for delivery in January 2017 and October 2017, respectively. IHS Jane's reported in November 2014 that Indonesia has planned to acquire at least two more ships in the class, although a contract for these has yet to be finalised.

The Indonesian MoD has said it will deploy the PKR frigates for maritime surveillance, including to counter piracy and illegal fishing. IHS Jane's also understands that the TNI-AL plans to equip the warships with AS565 Panther helicopters that will be fitted with the Helicopter Long-Range Active Sonar (HELRAS) dipping sonar and torpedo launching system, bolstering the frigates' anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities.

Measuring 105 m long, the TNI-AL's PKR frigate is the largest SIGMA variant built to date. The ship displaces 2,365 tons at full load and can accommodate a crew of 100 with 20 additional berths. According to specifications provided by the Indonesian MoD, the PKR frigate can reach a top speed of 28 kt and has a standard range of 5,000 n miles at a speed of 18 kt.

COMMENT
During an interview in August 2014, TNI-AL chief of staff Admiral Marsetio told IHS Jane's that the SIGMA 10514 PKR frigate programme is of particular interest to the country because it is seen as a gauge as to whether the local shipbuilding industry can take on the task of producing a complex warship. Indonesian shipbuilders have been indigenously producing smaller platforms, such as the KCR-40 and the KCR-60M attack craft. However, none of these compare with the complexity of the PKR frigate's weapons and sensor systems.

The Indonesian frigates will be equipped with a variant of the Thales TACTICOS 300 combat management suite, a Rheinmetall Defence Millennium 35 mm close-in weapon system (CIWS), a Thales SMART-S Mk 2 surveillance radar, and a 12-cell vertical-launch air-defence system. The ships will also be equipped with six 324 mm torpedo tubes.

"Once the two vessels are complete and operationalised, we will be assessing the need for more ships of the type given the archipelagic nature of this region and local capabilities to build more of such vessels indigenously," Adm Marsetio told IHS Jane's .

Indonesia lays keel for second PKR frigate - IHS Jane's 360