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South Korea Launches First Indonesian Stealth Submarine

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South Korea Launches First Indonesian Stealth Submarine

Following last week’s launch, the attack submarine will undergo extensive sea trials off the South Korean coast.

South Korea Launches First Indonesian Stealth Submarine
Credit: DSME

Last week, South Korean defense contractor Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) launched the first out of three Type 209/1400 Chang Bogo-class (a license-built variant of the 209) diesel-electric attack submarines for service in the Indonesian Navy, IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly reports.

The submarine was launched on March 24 at the DSME Okpo shipyard in South Gyeongsang, South Korea in a launch ceremony attended by Indonesian Minister of Defense Ryamizard Ryacudu and the Indonesian Navy’s highest ranking officer, Admiral Ade Supandi.

Following last week’s launch, the attack submarine will undergo extensive sea trials off the South Korean coast and is scheduled for transfer to the Indonesian Navy in March 2017. Construction of a second vessel has already begun. All submarines are expected to be delivered by the first half of 2018, according to IHS Jane’s, although The Jakarta Post gives a December 2016 delivery date for all three boats.

In December 2011, DSME was awarded a $1.1 billion contract for the construction of three 1,400-ton diesel-electric attack submarines. According to the contract, the first two submarines are to be built in South Korea, whereas the last vessel will be constructed under license by the Indonesian state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city located on the northeastern  coast of Java island.

As I explained in October 2015 (See: “Will Indonesia Buy French Stealth Submarines?”):

The last time the Indonesian Navy received new submarines was in the 1980s with the delivery of two German Type 209/1300 diesel-electric attack submarines (known as Cakra-class in Indonesia), which subsequently underwent several major refits modernizing the subs’ propulsion systems, detection and navigation systems, and 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 Indonesian Chang Bogo-class sub will have an operational range of around 10,000 nautical miles, a surface top speed of 21 knots (10 knots while submerged), feature eight weapon tubes for torpedoes and guided missiles, and will be equipped with “cutting edge electronic defense and radar signal detection systems.” The boats will be operated by a crew of 40.

“The submarine has been designed for a range of missions, including anti-surface warfare (ASuW), anti-submarine warfare (ASW), mine laying, and special forces operations,” reports IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly, based on information supplied by DSME. However, it is unclear if any of the three subs will be fitted with new Lithium-ion batteries that purportedly are under development to boost the underwater endurance of the Chang Bogo-class.

According to The Jakarta Post, Indonesia is still in the process of setting up the proper infrastructure to accommodate the new boats. Once operational, the new facilities should have the capacity to construct or overhaul two submarines simultaneously. After receiving the submarine modules from South Korea in December 2016, PT PAL is scheduled to begin assembling the third boat at the new facilities in Surabaya in January 2017 under DSME supervision.