Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Naval Group offers the FDI frigate to the Indonesian Navy, following the sale of the Scorpene

Will the FDI frigate play spoilsport in Indonesia? It's possible. Military industrial cooperation between Indonesia and France has seen a very significant boost in recent years. Indeed, in just a few years, Jakarta turned to Paris to acquire, among other things, 55 Caesar cannons, then 42 combat planes. Rafale and, more recently, two Scorpene Evolved submarines, equipped with new lithium-ion batteries.

The French defense industry, supported by the plenipotentiary services and the country's armies, intends to take advantage of this positive dynamic to further extend the areas of cooperation with its Indonesian counterpart, while Jakarta is engaged in a vast effort to modernize its armies in the face of developments in regional tensions, particularly in relation to China.

It is in this context that the frigate Bretagne, belonging to the Aquitaine class, made a stopover at the Tanjung Priok port, north of Jakarta. The opportunity for the French Navy to intensify its relations with the Indonesian Navy, and especially for Naval Group, to offer the FDI frigate to Indonesia, taking advantage of the industrial dynamic created around the Scorpene Evolved contract, to attract Jakarta.

Concretely, Naval Group presented, on board the frigate Bretagne, the outlines of a technological partnership offer, which would allow Indonesia, its naval industry, and PT PAL, the Naval Group partner shipyard in the construction of the two Scorpene, to locally produce these high-tech frigates for its Navy, with, as a result, significant technology transfers.

Signature of contract Scorpene Evolved naval Group Indonesia
Signature of the agreement for the order of 2 Scorpene Evolved submarines under local construction between Naval Group, PT PAl, the Indonesian Ministry of Defense, and the Indonesian Navy.

After ordering two British Arrowhead frigates, then two Italian PPAs, the Indonesian Navy plans, in fact, to order, in the months or years to come, at least four, perhaps six, additional first-rate frigates, which will have to replace the Ahmad Yani class frigates, currently in service.

These ships are, in fact, Van Speijk class frigates, a Dutch version of the British Leander. Entering service in 1967, they were sold to Indonesia in 1989, and have been sailing for almost 60 years. Despite the different phases of modernization undergone over the years, these frigates, today, are largely outclassed by Chinese ships, such as the Type 054A/B frigates or the Type 052D/DL destroyers.

Initially, the Indonesian authorities announced that they would turn towards the Italian FREMM Bergamini-class frigate, to replace its six ships of the Ahmad Yani class. For an unknown reason, this major contract ultimately turned into an order for only two PPAs, halfway between a frigate and a heavy armed OPV, leaving unresolved the replacement of the four, or even six Ahmad Yani, according to the classification that will be given to Indonesian PPAs.

It is into this gap that Naval Group intends to slip, taking advantage of two major assets, it is true. The first is none other than the agreement reached with the Indonesian authorities and the PT PAL shipyards, for the construction of two Scorpene Evolveds, with the announced objective of expanding this fleet to six ships.

Ahmad Yani class frigate Indonesia
The 6 Ahmad Yani class frigates, which form the backbone of the Indonesian Navy's offshore fleet, are all more than 50 years old.

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