Indonesia is enhancing its navy’s capabilities

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Indonesia’s Defence Ministry, led by His Excellency Prabowo Subianto, announced on Wednesday that it had finalized an agreement to purchase a submarine rescue vessel from a British company for $100 million. This acquisition represents the country’s latest step toward modernizing its military equipment.

The agreement was formally signed on Tuesday during a defence expo in London and involved the cooperation of the Defence Ministry’s designated partner, PT BTI Indo Tekno, the submarine producer Submarine Manufacturing & Products Ltd, and Houlder Ltd.

This substantial military purchase is part of a series of significant acquisitions made by Indonesia. These include the acquisition of 42 Dassault Rafale fighter jets for $8.1 billion, the purchase of 12 new drones from Turkish Aerospace valued at $300 million, and the procurement of 12 used Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets costing $800 million.

The British-made submarine rescue vessel is designed for swift rescue operations, accommodating up to 50 individuals and being transportable by aircraft. It will be delivered with its mothership to the Indonesian Navy.

This purchase addresses a crucial need for Indonesia, as the country was left without a rescue vessel following the sinking of one of its five submarines during a torpedo exercise in the Bali Sea in 2021, resulting in the tragic loss of 53 crew members.

This acquisition aligns with Subianto’s mission to enhance the Indonesian navy’s capabilities, as for many years Indonesia’s defence spending per capita and as a percentage of its gross domestic product has been the lowest among the six emerging market economies in Southeast Asia. Last month, the Indonesian Navy has officially received for service two new German-built mine-countermeasure vessels (MCMVs). The boats, which will be in service as KRI Pulau Fani and KRI Pulau Fanildo, were received in a handover ceremony on 14 August in Surabaya.

Indonesia has allocated 134.3 trillion rupiah ($8.74 billion) for defence in this year’s state budget, marking the largest allocation in its budget.

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