Indonesia signs for new and refurbished Italian frigates

Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri announced on 10 June that it will supply six new multirole frigates based on its Bergamini (Fregata Europea Multi-Missione – FREMM)-class design to the Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL).

The new frigates have been selected under a programme to acquire follow-on vessels to the TNI-AL’s two Martadinata (SIGMA 10514)-class frigates. Fincantieri added that Jakarta has also opted to procure two ex-Italian Navy Maestrale-class frigates from the Italian government.

The FREMM programme is a joint Franco-Italian project overseen by the European Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation (OCCAR). Besides France and Italy, the type is also in service with the Egyptian and Moroccan navies and on order for the US Navy as the future Consellation-class.

The Italian Navy operates six FREMM vessels in the General Purpose (GP), or anti-surface, configuration and four in the anti-submarine warfare (ASW) configuration. It is not known which configuration has been specified by the TNI-AL.

“The acquisition of an order of this magnitude allows Fincantieri to also assume global leadership in the surface ships sector and is the confirmation of the technological leadership of a project once again considered the most innovative on the market,” said Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri.

Fincantieri, which will assume the role of prime contractor, noted that the selection of the FREMM design will provide significant employment benefits to several Italian companies such as Leonardo. It will also co-operate with Indonesia’s state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL for the delivery of the frigates.

The Indonesian Ministry of Defence (MoD) had earlier shortlisted four design options for the follow-on frigate programme. Besides the FREMM, other shortlisted designs included an improved version of Damen’s SIGMA 10514, a Babcock-led Arrowhead 140 concept, and the 30FFM design from Japan’s Mitsui.

Fincantieri has also been selected as the main contractor to refurbish two Maestrale-class frigates that will soon be retired from Italian Navy service. These will be refurbished to meet TNI-AL’s requirements, with refurbishment work carried out by the compeny in Italy.

However, local reports have suggested that the Indonesian MoD has yet to secure funding for both the FREMM and Maestrale contracts, with the government exploring various options including up foreign-sourced loans to support a raft of modernisation requirements across the armed forces.

A draft regulation from Indonesia’s presidential office earlier outlined the requirement for investments of around US$125 billion for defence modernisation and sustainment for the next two decades.

by Jr Ng