Indonesia Sojourn

SHAH ALAM: AS hinted in my LMS piece, I was in Indonesia last week for a business trip. Specifically I was attending the Indo Defence Show and Forum 2016 which ran from Nov. 2 to 5.

I went to the show to look for stories for my other jobs as what I did last month in Manila. For Malaysian Defence its mostly to meet up with contacts, old and new ones.

The trips I made to trade shows around Asean during the last four years had given me a glimpse of what is happening in the regional defence industries. However, directly comparing between the countries would be wrong – apple to oranges comparison – but I found one constant theme though.

A model of the modern medium weight tank being developed by PT Pindad, a state owned firm with FNSS of Turkey for the Indonesian Army. The tank is fitted with a CMI Defence turret with a 105mm gun and 7.62mm co-axial machinegun. The first protoype is expected to be ready next year.
A model of the modern medium weight tank being developed by PT Pindad, a state owned firm with FNSS of Turkey for the Indonesian Army. The tank is fitted with a CMI Defence turret with a 105mm gun and 7.62mm co-axial machinegun. The first protoype is expected to be ready next year.

When Malaysia goes to defence/security trade shows its just to promote our own defence/security trade shows, for example, Lima 17. This is probably because we have no actual defence products to showcase to our neighbours. Our neighbours do, for example, there is Chaiseri of Thailand while Indonesia’s PT PAL, PTDI and PT Pindad, need no introduction.

An AW139 of Basarnas, the Indonesia national SAR agency. This was the first non-Airbus helicopters to be procured by an Indonesian government agency for sometime.
An AW139 of Basarnas, the Indonesia national SAR agency. This was the first non-Airbus helicopters to be procured by an Indonesian government agency for sometime.

Anyhow back to show, the Indo Defence event this year looked much more bigger than the event’s two years ago. As expected the Indonesia defence industries – state owned or otherwise – were prominently displayed during the show.

The Marder Medium RI tank. This is the Rheinmental solution for the Indonesian medium wieght tank. The hull is the Marder APC but fitted with a HITFACT turret fitted with a 105mm gun. Indonesia is buying a large number of surplus Marder IFV from Germany.
The Marder Medium RI tank. This is the Rheinmental solution for the Indonesian medium wieght tank. The hull is the Marder APC but fitted with a HITFACT turret fitted with a 105mm gun. Indonesia is buying a large number of surplus Marder IFV from Germany.

However as this website is still about the Malaysia defence scene, lets look at what was connected with us. At the Sritex showcase, out and front center was the Malaysian Army digital CBRNe suit.

The Army digital camo CBRNe suit on display at the Sritex booth.
The Army digital camo CBRNe suit on display at the Sritex booth.

Sritex as you might be aware is the garment supplier to Jakel, the company that got the contracts to supply the Armed Forces and other government agencies with the digital camo uniforms.

Tentera Darat digital camo on show, Next to the digital CBRNe suit is the Integrated Personnel Protection ensemble.
Tentera Darat digital camo on show, Next to the digital CBRNe suit is the Integrated Personnel Protection ensemble.

A Sritex representative when asked about the CBRNe suit stated that the product was currently under testing by the “Malaysians”. She did not eloborate further.

Sanca MRAP. The Sanca is the Thales Bushmaster MRAP built in Indonesia under colloboration with PT Pindad, a state owned firm.
Sanca MRAP. The Sanca is the Thales Bushmaster MRAP built in Indonesia under colloboration with PT Pindad, a state owned firm.

And as for the MOU between Boustead Naval Shipyard and PT PAL, I do not have much to add about the deal. I was not able to speak to Tan Sri Ramly Nor personally but a more senior colleague met up with him shortly after the ceremony.

 A model of an unmanned mini subermisible displayed at the Indonesian Defence Ministry booth.
A model of an unmanned mini subermisible displayed at the Indonesian Defence Ministry booth.

My colleague reported that Ramly “does not look too keen to talk about MOU when I ask him about it, he just said its an MOU”. With that as my guide, I sought the people at PT PAL booth which were festooned with various ship models including the MRSS version that the MOU was based on.

According to the PT PAL engineers, the ship was 150 metres long with a crew of around 170 and accomodation for 500 troops. The well deck could fit two standard size LCUs and it has a hangar which could accomodate two Cougars/Nuri at the same time.

The model of the MRSS displayed at the PT PAL booth.
The model of the MRSS displayed at the PT PAL booth.

The heli-deck could accept the two Cougars/Nuri landing at the same time as well. The ship,according to them is much bigger than the two SSVs that were purchased by the Philippines Navy bought (123 metres) and the rest of the Makassar and Banjarmasin class LPDs of the Indonesian and Peruvian navies.

A close up of the MRSS model shown at PT PAL booth.
A close up of the MRSS model shown at PT PAL booth.

I tried to ask further details about the MRSS project but the PT Pal people claimed ignorance. Asked how many ships were being discussed, they said no numbers were known at the point.

As I had reported previously, the MRSS project – four of which being sought under the RMN’s 15 to 5 plan, has yet to be funded and probably will not be so in the foreeseable future.

Thales Starstreak VSHORAD
Thales Starstreak VSHORAD

That said if the Indonesia happened to provide these ships at friendly prices together with a line of credit, we may well see the project move on from the MOU stage. Unless of course, China beat them to it!

— Malaysian Defence

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