Friday, March 6, 2009

Last of Indonesia's Four New Navy Warships Due

The fourth modern corvette warship ordered by the military from
a Dutch shipyard is expected to arrive in Indonesia next month.

In 2004, the Indonesian Navy ordered four SIGMA-class corvettes
worth about 700 million euros ($892 million). The first three
arrived in the country last year. The primary mission of the
vessels is coastal defense, search and patrolling.

SIGMA, an acronym for Ship Integrated Geometrical Modularity
Approach, has a modular design that gives it flexibility at a
reduced cost.

All of Indonesia’s SIGMA-class corvettes were equipped with
sensors and arms systems, such as the 76-millimeter
multifunction cannon as well as anti-submarine torpedoes.

A government plan for Indonesia to build corvettes
domestically would be in the 2009-2014 Defense Ministry
strategic plan.

It had earlier been part of a 2004-2009 Strategic Plan, but
Sjafrie said that the government’s tight budget situation meant
that option was no longer viable.

The Navy is poorly equipped, underfunded and heavily in debt to
state-owned oil and gas company Pertamina.

Under the strategic plan, local defense industries are to
receive financial support from the government to build the
ships. He said the government would also take a role in
promoting cooperation with shipyards abroad to facilitate the
transfer of technology to Indonesia.

Indonesia has been trying to diversify its sources of weaponry
and military equipment since the US Congress introduced an
embargo after the violence surrounding East Timor’s 1999
self-determination ballot. The US Congress said the Indonesian
military played a role in escalating the violence. The embargo
was lifted in late 2005.


Kerry B. Collison
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