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.

To do this, Naval Group and France relied on the excellent progress of the contract Rafale, creating a climate of mutual trust, allowing Paris to make a global proposal, including in terms of financing and industrial sharing, concerning the local construction of the two Scorpene. It is likely that, regarding the IDF, France will arrive in Indonesia, again, with a global and attractive offer.

The second asset is based on the excellent behavior of the French FREMM frigates, of the Aquitaine and Alsace classes, their sensors, and their armaments, during their deployments in the Red Sea, facing Houthi drones and missiles, including by carrying out an interception successful launch of three ballistic missiles, a first involving a European ship and a missile.

The entire technological range of the FDI offered without restriction to the Indonesian Navy

To attract the Indonesian authorities and the Indonesian Navy, Naval Group, and more generally, the entire French military naval industry, is not only offering the new defense and intervention frigate, or FDI, ordered in five units by the French Navy. , and three examples by the Hellenic Navy, but also a particularly attractive industrial and technological framework.

Radar seafire 500 thales
The FDI frigates and all of their technological components are offered without reservation to the Indonesian Navy, including the high-performance Sea Fire 500 radar from Thales.

Thus, according to the local correspondent on the specialized site Navalnews.com, the configuration of the IDF proposed in Jakarta is not subject to any technological impasse, including all the equipment and capabilities of the French and Greek frigates.

This includes, for example, the Sea Fire Aesa radar, the 4 Sylver 50 vertical launch systems and their Aster 15 and 30 missiles, the entire anti-submarine warfare detection and engagement chain of a of the best frigates, if not the best on the market, in this area, as well as the electronic and cyber warfare capabilities, specific to this digital frigate, in the face of a rapidly growing Chinese submarine fleet.

Better yet, in addition to the local construction of ships, which could start from the first hull, some of this key equipment could also be the subject of technology transfer and local production, including missiles. surface-air Aster.

A gigantic Indonesian market in the focus of the French defense industry

Obviously, Naval Group, but also Thales and MBDA, are ready to make significant efforts to increase the presence of French equipment within the Indonesian armed forces. The French authorities seem ready to support them very actively.

It must be said that after the successes recorded regarding the sale of 55 Caesar cannons, then 42 hunters Rafale, and finally two Scorpene Evolved submarines, Indonesia has risen to the rank of strategic partner of the French defense industry, in the same way as India, the United Arab Emirates, Greece and Egypt .

C-130 Hercules Indonesian Air Force
the Indian armed forces will have to modernize a large part of their equipment, including replacing the 23 C-130 Hercules in service.

For France, a solid strategic partnership with Jakarta would have many positive aspects, Indonesia being expected to overtake France (8th) and Russia (9th), in terms of nominal GDP, before 2040, taking the 7th place in the world rankings. Its strategic geographical position, at the junction between the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean, its demographic power, and its economic dynamics, make it a partner of choice for France, concerning its international policy and, more specifically, Indo- peaceful.

In the shorter term, the Indonesian armies will have to renew a large quantity of their equipment, in all areas, ranging from light and medium armored vehicles, to medium and long range anti-aircraft systems, including corvettes, transport and maritime patrol aircraft, drones and combat systems.

What's more, due to their operational and geographical specificities, the Indonesian armies and the French armies share a similar doctrine and a specialization concerning medium-distance power projection.

In fact, Paris has every reason today to be particularly flexible and proactive towards Jakarta, especially since the reliability concerns which initially surrounded the contract Rafale, were all swept away, by the exemplary conduct of this contract. We can therefore hope that the approach undertaken by Naval Group, to promote the FDI in Indonesia, will receive a favorable reception from the Indonesian Navy and the country's authorities.

Article from May 31, 2024 in full version until July 12

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