Asia Defense

South Korea Launches 2nd Indonesian Attack Submarine

Indonesia’s undersea warfare capability is slowly expanding.

South Korea Launches 2nd Indonesian Attack Submarine
Credit: Indonesian Navy

South Korean defense contractor Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) launched the second out of three Type 209/1400 Chang Bogo-class (a license-built variant of the German Type 209) diesel-electric attack submarines for service in the Indonesian Navy (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Laut) on October 24, according to local media reports.

Around 60 people, including senior Indonesian Navy officials, attended the launch ceremony, which took place at the Okpo shipyard shipyard in Geoje Island, in the southeastern part of South Korea.  The new submarine is part of a $1.1 billion contract for three diesel-electric submarines signed with Indonesia in December 2011. As I reported previously (See: “South Korea Launches First Indonesian Stealth Submarine”), the lead vessel of the program was was launched on March 24 at the DSME Okpo shipyard in South Gyeongsang on March 24.

Like its predecessor, the new Type 209/1400 Chang Bogo-class sub will undergo extensive builder and sea trials off the coast of the Korean Peninsula in the coming months. Once the trials are successfully completed, the submarine is slated to be handed over to Indonesian authorities by October 2017. (The first Chang Bogo-class sub is scheduled for delivery to the Indonesian Navy in March 2017.)

The last submarine will be license-built by the Indonesian state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city, located on the northeastern coast of Java island, under a technology transfer agreement. Work on the third and last Chang Bogo-class sub will begin December of this year. “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,” I noted in March.

The 1,400-ton submarines have an operational range of approximately 10,000 nautical miles and are multipurpose vessels capable of conducting anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and Special Forces missions. It is unclear whether South Korea will fit the new subs with lithium-ion batteries to boost the underwater endurance of the boats.

The new submarines will be a major boost to the Indonesian Navy’s undersea warfare capabilities, as I reported last year (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 government is currently working on building adequate submarine bases to house the Chang Bogo-class. There are also plans to set up a submarine base on Pulau Natuna Besar, the largest of the Natuna Islands cluster in the South China Sea.