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Indonesia locks in domestic production of French Scorpène submarines

Scorpene Submarine. Photo: Naval Group

Two Scorpène submarines will be built in Indonesia in a deal between state-owned enterprise PT PAL and France’s Naval Group.

Two Scorpène submarines will be built in Indonesia in a deal between state-owned enterprise PT PAL and France’s Naval Group.

Indonesian authorities have chosen Naval Group and PT PAL for the Indonesian Navy submarine project, with both companies joining forces through a Strategic Partnership Agreement signed in February 2022.

The two Scorpène evolved full lithium-ion battery submarines are expected to be built in Indonesia in a PT PAL shipyard, through a transfer of technology from Naval Group.

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The 72-metre-long ocean-going submarines are designed for shallow water operations with a surface displacement of between 1,600 to 2,000 tonnes, a submerged speed of 20 knots, diving depth of 300 metres, crew of 31, weapons payload of 18 (missiles and torpedoes), six weapons tubes, submerged autonomy of 12 days, and operational availability at sea of 240 days per year.

“Naval Group is very honoured to be part of this new chapter in the strategic alliance between Indonesia and France,” according to Naval Group chairman and chief executive officer Pierre Éric Pommellet.

“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.

“In addition to the submarines, our strategic partnership with PT PAL will also support the Indonesian defence industry to actively prepare the future of naval warfare in the country.

“We are pleased to welcome the Indonesian Navy in the Scorpène family.”

The Indonesian Scorpène submarines will be fitted with a modern energy system based on a full lithium-ion configuration for higher range of useful energy, better indiscretion rate and a reduced charging time to produce increased submarine tactical mobility.

Naval Group has also designed and adapted Scorpène submarines for the Chilean Navy (two), Malaysian Navy (two), Brazilian Navy (four), and Indian Navy (six).

“This step is a high commitment and trust of the Indonesian government in the capability of local engineers to advancing defence technology, especially submarine technology,” according to PT PAL president director Dr Kaharuddin Djenod.

“The government’s commitment in realising the independence of the defence industry is also supported by the provision of government capital to fully support the whole local production of submarine at PT PAL.

“In the future, Indonesia is expected to be able to master submarine technology.”

Earlier this month, Republic of Indonesia President-elect Prabowo Subianto held talks with People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping in Beijing on 1 April.

Both leaders reportedly discussed the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway and bilateral and strategic cooperation and development of a closer relationship with a shared future. Subianto also reportedly met with PRC Defense Minister Dong Jun to discuss strengthening of the defence cooperation, joint exercises, and personnel exchanges on 2 April.

Earlier this year in March, Naval Group launched the third of four Scorpène submarines under the ProSub program at the Itaguaí Naval Base, in presence of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and French President Emmanuel Macron.

The tonelero (submarine), built entirely in Brazil by Itaguaí Construções Navais, was successfully launched in Itaguaí, Brazil, and will soon start sea trials in order to be delivered in 2025. Angostura, the last submarine of the series will be launched in 2025.

Naval Group also supports the Brazilian Navy in the design of the first Brazilian nuclear-powered submarine and will provide support beyond the construction of the submarines over the entire life cycle of the ships.

The adapted Brazilian Scorpène design is slightly longer than the original model to carry a larger crew, more food and fuel to enable longer patrols and greater distances, as well as carrying Naval Group’s new-generation F21 heavyweight torpedo.

In other major naval news this week, South Korea’s HD Hyundai Heavy Industries announced a US$463 million order to jointly build four warships with Peru’s state-owned shipbuilder SIMA Peru S.A by 2029.

The order includes joint production of a frigate, offshore patrol vessel, and two landing craft for the Peruvian Navy, under the largest-ever defence export to Latin America by a domestic company.

Robert Dougherty

Robert Dougherty

Robert is a senior journalist who has previously worked for Seven West Media in Western Australia, as well as Fairfax Media and Australian Community Media in New South Wales. He has produced national headlines, photography and videography of emergency services, business, community, defence and government news across Australia. Robert graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, Majoring in Public Relations and Journalism at Curtin University, attended student exchange program with Fudan University and holds Tier 1 General Advice certification for Kaplan Professional. Reach out via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via LinkedIn.
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