Last week, Indonesia laid the keel for another two patrol vessels in a ceremony attended by top officials and representatives. Though the advance was just the latest within just one of several classes of such vessels that Indonesia is building out, it nonetheless bears watching as part of the Southeast Asian state’s wider naval modernization effort amid lingering challenges.
Indonesia has long been engaged in an effort to strengthen its maritime capabilities and boost its domestic defense industry as part of its wider military modernization. Part of this effort has been the investments made by the Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL) in patrol vessels of various sizes, and one these is the 40-meter vessels under the PC-40 program, which has involved various local shipbuilders including PT Palindo Marine in Batam and PT Caputra Mitra Sejati (PT CMS) in Banten.
Progress on the PC-40 program has continued on over the years, even though it has been at a slower pace than officials would like due to a range of reasons including resource constraints and its still nascent defense industry. The latest notable development in this class of vessels came in July, when Indonesia commissioned the seventh patrol vessel, the KRI Albakora 867.
Last week, the PC-40 vessels program was in the spotlight again as two more vessels were laid down. Local media outlets reported that Indonesian shipbuilder PT Caputra Mitra Sejati (CMS) had laid down two more PC-40-class patrol vessels on order for the Indonesian Navy.
The vessels were laid down on September 19 at PT CMS’s shipyard in Banten, East Java. The ceremony was attended by several Indonesian defense officials and company executives and the keel was laid by TNI-AL Assistant for Logistics to the Navy Chief Rear Admiral Mulyadi.
In his remarks at the ceremony, Mulyadi reiterated the fact that this step was one of several stages that the vessels would go through, including determining operational requirements and technical specifications and crafting specific designs and documentation. He reinforced the point that the vessels, which would constitute the eighth and ninth vessels within the PC-40 class as of now, along with the others in its class, would play an important role in helping the TNI-AL realize basic functions including patrolling Indonesia’s vast waters.