Franz-Stefan Gady, The Diplomat
12 January 2016
The French defense contractor DCNS is offering Indonesia a new submarine combat management system in use aboard French nuclear submarines for one of the Indonesian Navy’s German-made Type 209/1300 diesel-electric attack submarines (known as Cakra-class in Indonesia), IHS Jane’s Navy International reports.
The new combat system has been specifically designed for the Indonesian Navy’s needs by DCNS subsidiary Underwater Defense System. According to IHS Jane’s:
Sources close to the TNI-AL [Tentara Nasional Indonesia - Angkatan Laut, the Indonesian Navy] told IHS Jane’s that the CMS, known as Submarine Tactical Integrated Combat System (SUBTICS), is being offered as part of DCNS’s proposal to carry out maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) work on KRI Cakra (401). The TNI-AL is looking to extend the life of the 59.5 m German-built vessel to 2024 with the MRO.
The last time the Indonesian Navy received new submarines was in the 1980s with the delivery of two German-made Type 209/1300 diesel-electric Cakra-class attack submarines, the Cakra and its sister ship the Nanggala. Both vessels underwent several major refits modernizing the subs’ propulsion systems and detection and navigation systems, and adding new fire control and combat systems by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) and South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME), which is building Type 209 variants under license.
The new French-made combat system for the Cakra-class “was designed to be integrated with a Thales sonar suite and Whitehead Alenia Sistemi Subacquei’s (WASS’) torpedoes and fire control system. However, the CMS features an open architecture and interface design that allows options from other manufacturers as well,” according to IHS Jane’s Navy International.
The move by DCNS could be part of an overall sales strategy to convince Indonesian defense officials to procure French-built Scorpene-class 1000 diesel-electric attack submarines for the Indonesian Navy.
As I reported previously (See: “Will Indonesia Buy French Stealth Submarines?”), Indonesian-French government-to-government talks over the procurement of diesel-electric attack submarines took place at last year’s Pacific International Maritime Exhibition. According to naval analysts, Indonesia will need at least six submarines to secure its key maritime straits (Malacca, Sunda and Lombok).
DCNS officials have been lobbying hard to convince Jakarta that the Scorpene-class 1000 diesel-electric attack submarine, with its ability to operate in shallow waters, is the ideal solution for Indonesia, given the country’s archipelagic geography.
Back in October, I also reported that the Indonesian government appears to be also interested in procuring a number of Russian-made Kilo-class attack submarines and is expecting a license-built variant of the German Type 209/1,300 sub:
In December 2011, DSME was awarded a contract for the construction of three 1,400-ton Chang Bogo-class (a license-built variant of the 209) diesel-electric attack submarines. The boats are expected to be delivered between 2015 and 2016 with a commissioning date set for the first half of 2018.
The Indonesian Navy has not made a decision on either of the French offers yet.