The Indonesian Navy will re-establish an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aviation squadron, according to IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly.
The article, based on a report published by Indonesia’s state news agency Antara, notes that this will be the first time since the 1970s that the Indonesian Navy will have a naval aviation unit dedicated solely to ASW.
The aviation squadron, named Skuadron Udara 100, will be established to provide operational support for Indonesia’s new fleet of 11 ASW configured AS-565 MBe Panther helicopters, according to Indonesian military officials.
“The Panther now becomes one of the world’s most capable light/medium anti-submarine warfare platforms, with an advanced ASW suite and the capability to operate from corvettes or small frigates,” emphasized Philippe Monteux, Head of Region South East Asia & Pacific at Airbus.
There is no set date yet when the squadron will become operational. According to a source within the Indonesian Navy and cited by IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly: “The squadron will only be commissioned closer to the date of the first Panther’s delivery.”
This would imply that the unit could be stood up as early as next year, since all 11 helicopters are scheduled to be delivered by the end of 2017. Once operational the squadron will be stationed at an Indonesian Navy airbase in Juanda, Surabaya.
“We want to ensure that our combat capabilities are in line with the new platforms and weapon systems that we are receiving,” noted the Indonesian Navy’s chief of staff, Admiral Ade Supandi in an interview on June 17.
The helicopters will operate from the Indonesian Navy’s SIGMA 10514-class guided-missile corvettes and Bung Tomo-class corvettes.
The AS-565 Panther helicopter will be equipped with either Raytheon Mk 46 or Whitehead A.244/S lightweight ASW torpedoes and will also be fitted with dipping sonar DS-100 helicopter long-range active sonar (HELRAS). According to the website Defense Update:
The DS-100 is A 1.38 kHz version of the popular AQS-18A dipping sonar. The DS-100 is capable of operating at depths to 500 meters designed for long-range surveillance and underwater search. Using high resolution doppler processing and long shaped pulses, it can detect submarines even very low speed (near zero doppler signal). According to L-3, the DS-100 is also suited to redetection, target localization and weapon delivery against submarines at deep and shallow waters.
The helicopter will also be fitted with unnamed indigenously developed hardware as some media reports state.