Naval Group scores Scorpene Evolved submarine deal with Indonesia

French shipbuilder Naval Group announced on 28 March that it has been selected with local partner PT PAL to supply two Scorpene Evolved diesel-electric submarines to Indonesia.

The two submarines, which feature lithium-ion batteries, will be built in Indonesia in PT PAL’s shipyard in Surabaya via a technology transfer from Naval Group, it added. The two companies had entered into an alliance for the submarine programme through a Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) signed in February 2022.

The deal was made under the auspices of the Defence Cooperation Agreement signed between the governments of France and Indonesia in August 2021,

“Naval Group is very honoured to be part of this new chapter in the strategic alliance between Indonesia and France,” said Pierre Éric Pommellet, Chairman and CEO of Naval Group.

“With Scorpène Evolved Full LiB, Indonesia has chosen a high-performant, sea-proven submarine that will strengthen the country’s maritime sovereignty and support the Indonesian Navy in achieving regional superiority at sea,” added Pommellet, noting that Naval Group’s strategic partnership with PT PAL will also boost the capabilities of Indonesian defence industry to address future naval warfare requirements.

Dr Kaharuddin Djenod, President Director of PT PAL, noted that the effort has been greatly aided by the provision of a state capital to enable local production of the submarines at the company’s shipyard, paving the way for the mastery of submarine technology.

According to Naval Group, the Scorpene Evolved is a multirole, oceangoing submarine that is designed for shallow water operations and can undertake the full spectrum of missions including anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare, intelligence, and special operations. Optimised for lean manning with a high level of automation, the type is equipped with six weapon tubes that can launch a mix of 18 torpedoes and missiles. It is also equipped with the company’s SUBTICS combat system.

Unlike previous variants of the Scorpene submarines built for other international operators, the Indonesian submarines will be fitted with a full lithium-ion battery system that will enable them to achieve an operating endurance of up to 80 days and range in excess of 8,000 nautical miles.

The latest move follows a September 2023 announcement by the Indonesian Ministry of Defense (MoD) for the acquisition of a submarine rescue vessel worth US$100 million as well as ancillary systems from British company Submarine Manufacturing & Products (SMP) Limited.

The deal will be headed by Indonesian company PT BTI Indo Tekno, which will deliver a complete submarine rescue ship to the Indonesian Navy via an undisclosed local shipyard.

According to the statement, SMP Limited will supply its free-swimming SRV system, which will be equipped with a decompression chamber as part of the mothership’s suite of medical evacuation and hyperbaric equipment that will stabilise casualties from distressed submarines.

“With the signing of the contract, Indonesia will operate the most advanced submarine rescue system in the region and this will support the Indonesian Navy’s readiness and combat capabilities while assuring the safety of its submariners,” the MoD stated.

The Indonesian Navy currently does not possess an organic submarine rescue capability and must depend on agreements with foreign countries to deliver aid during an emergency. For example, it maintains a bilateral agreement with the Republic of Singapore Navy to utilise the latter’s SRV assets – an approach which was used during the search and rescue of the ill-fated Cakra-class diesel-electric submarine KRI Nanggala, which was reported missing on 21 April 2021 while on a training mission.

The loss of the submarine with all hands prompted a review of the Indonesian Navy’s submarine operations, with the service identifying several of its surface combatants to be converted to rescue vessels using commercially leased rescue systems.

by Jr Ng