Building a Suitable Navy Posture for Indonesia’s Navy Future Fleet

Building an Ideal Archipelagic Fleet, Enhancing Combat Capability and Increasing Vessel Advancement towards Advanced, Responsive and Adaptive Blue Navy

by: Ahmaditya Irsyad, Undergraduate of State Shipbuilding Institute of Polytechnic Surabaya, Design and Construction


As Indonesia government consistently increase law enforcement on maritime and national sovereignty, increasing Jakarta’s influence consequently on regional defense and security in Indo-pacific Hemisphere which put Indonesia on the spotlight as the alternative choices for countries who don’t seek to take sides as global maritime influence race deepens between US and China.

Indonesia’s growing-but-silent influence in the region, indirectly strengthen the urgency of Indonesian Navy as Armed branch of Republic of Indonesia to act more in revitalizing the already-ageing fleet by replacing them and increasing the number fleet of primary combat and supporting vessel in order to maintain the defense and combat capability.

Specifically, to build a future posture of Indonesian Navy fleet that suits with Indonesia’s archipelagic condition, there has to be a formula to measure a suitable number of fleet that Indonesian Navy needs to achieve in the future with reasonable time. Variable such as type/classes of warship, role of the ship in the fleet, weaponry that equipped on board and ship range/coverage area and annual ship production output become fundamental formula to ease work of government in the future to projecting the number of fleets that needed for Indonesian navy, even projecting potential location of new naval base.

This initiative, not only evolving Indonesian navy combat capability but also fulfill the ideal posture of advanced, capable and sufficiently armed fleet to enforcing and asserts national interest domestically and abroad, toward a globally outward looking Blue Navy.

What Are Obstacles Ahead? How We Able Overcome It?

The Indonesian Navy requires a significant increase with high-technology fleet to reduce the burden of ship-to-area coverage ratio in territorial patrol, given the vast territory of Indonesia. Indonesian Naval warships are required to be able to conduct early detection of threats with a distance as far as possible with deadly combat capability.

With primary combat and supporting fleet which consisting of 81 Ships from various class, such as PKR 10514 Martadinata-Class Multi-purpose Frigate, Bung Tomo-Class and Pattimura-Class Anti-ASW Corvette/OPV, KCR-40/50/60 Fast Craft Missile, Chakra-Class/Nagapasa-Class Conventional Diesel Submarine, Makassar-Class LPD, TelukBintuni-Class LST, Balikpapan-Class AORS of which ¾ are from second use of NATO-member country such as UK, Netherland, Germany who are more than 30 years old are feared to have lower combat capability compared to similar sized and type of warship.

Although the regeneration process of Indonesian Navy primary combat and support fleet has been carried out by State-Owned Enterprise of Shipbuilding Industries, PAL Indonesia in cooperation with Netherland-origin DSNS (Damen-Schelde Naval and Shipbuilding) to build Project PKR 10514 SIGMA Frigate and South-Korean-origin DSME (Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering) to build Project Chang-Bogo Class Conventional Diesel-Electric Submarine which conducted under ToT (Transfer of Technology) &ToE (Transfer of Education) Scheme, it seems that the pace of production still unable to chase the ageing fleet which proof that there are several gaps that still require more effort to speed up production rate, especially in regulation-related matters in order to achieve Medium Essential Forces Target.

If its not done, the worst scenario will put Indonesia Navy in disarray, as the ageing fleet gradually decommissioned which resulted in decline of combat capability, will be necessary to take substantial and concrete action such as:

  1. Government introducing a legal scheme that obliged for all equipment which possible to be produced in Indonesia must be produced under executive order of Reverse Engineering Policy which overseeing by Industrial Minister which followed by Ministry of Defense, Finance, Trade, Marine-Fisheries and National Planning and Development Agency with State-Owned Enterprises to discuss and assess the potential list of component which proposed by Indonesia Navy on the behalf of Ministry of Defense which have potential to increase combat capability and able to produce by State-Owned Enterprises which conducted in comprehensive manner. The finished comprehensive report on engineeringly reversable potential component along with SWOT analysis in the process and officially handed over to Ministry of Finance as a basis for setting special import or related duty scheme for material directly related to the report.
  2. Ministry of State-Owned Enterprise on the behalf of government of Indonesia, introducing legal scheme that supporting the SOE to diversify their line business and production in order to support the previous policy as a strategy to funding the engineeringly reversable component production.
  3. Ministry of Defense with Ministry of Industry, State-Owned Enterprise discuss and asses the possibility of integrated defense industrial complex in order to increase the annual warship production rate with achievable target.
  4. Ministry of Defense with Higher-Education & Research-Technology Minister and State-Owned Enterprises enhance the role of Defense Research and Development Engineering by forming Design Innovation and Weaponry Enhancement

Current Status of Indonesian Navy and Its Comparison with Navy in the Region

For this measurement, we take the current primary combat and support vessel fleet with detail as below:

  1. Primary and Secondary Combat Fleet
  • Multipurpose Frigate (7 in operation)
    • 5 Ahmad Yani-Class (Second use from Koninkrijk in 1986, decomm start 2019)
    • 2 Martadinata-Class (DSNS ToT with PAL in 2013, 4 more in construction)
  • ASW Corvette/Offshore-Patrol Vessel (24 in operation)
    • 3 Bung Tomo-Class (Ordered by TenteraLautDiraja Brunei in 2000, Build by BAE System-Naval Surface UK, canceled in 2006, bought in 2013 from TLDB)
    • 4 Diponegoro-Class (Ordered in 2006, Build by DSNS-NL, comm start 2008)
    • 3 Fatahillah-Class (Ordered in 1978, Build by Wilton-Feyenord Schiedam,NL, comm start 1980, decomm start 2019)
    • 14 Pattimura-Class (Ordered in 1987 as Volksmarine Fleet, Build by Pennewerft-Wolgast, GDR, Comm in 1990, bought as second use after German Reunification in 1995 from Bundesmarine, decomm start 2020+)
  • Fast Craft Missile (15 in operation)
    • 8 Clurit-Class
    • 3 Mandau-Class
    • 4 Sampari-Class
  • Conventional Diesel-Electric Submarine (5 in operation)
    • 2 Chakra-Class (Ordered in 1980 from Howaldswerks-Werft-DE, Comm 1982, deccom start 2020+)
    • 3 Nagapasa-Class (DSME ToT with PAL in 2014, 5 in construction and 4 in option)
  1. Auxilliary and Support Fleet
  • 5 Makassar-Class LPD
  • 20 LST (7 TelukBintuni-Class, 13 Frosch-Class)
  • 5 Balikpapan-Class AORS

Total fleet: 51 (Combat) + 30 (Support)= 81 Unit

According to the latest data, Indonesian Navy will be decommissioning 24 warships start from 2019 and beyond. This gradually reduction needs to be taken carefully and wisely, in the other side the Navy needs to maintaining primary combat and supporting fleet readiness and keeping combat capability progressing by acquiring new warship.

In line with the gradual reduction, the Formula to calculate the future posture of archipelagic-suitable Indonesia Navy require variable such as:

  1. Technical specification of warship type
  2. Naval base location
  3. Nm2 coverage-to-ship ratio
  4. Class-to-class ratio
  5. Annual warship production output

These 5 indicators will be projecting the archipelagic-suitable fleet of Indonesian Navy.

Calculation on Archipelagic-Suitable Navy Future Fleet Projection

In this future fleet projection, Indonesian Navy will have warship with type as below:

  1. Heavy-Stealth-Multipurpose Destroyer
  2. Stealth-Multipurpose Frigate
  3. Anti-Submarine Warfare Capable Corvette/Offshore-Patrol Vessel
  4. Anti-Air Warfare Capable Fast-Craft
  5. Conventional (Diesel-Electric) Submarine
  6. Landing Platform Dock
  7. Landing Helicopter Dock
  8. Landing Ship Tank
  9. Auxiliary, Oil Replenishment and Supply Ship

For naval base location, Indonesia Navy have 14 primary bases around the archipelago, such as:

  1. Belawan, North Sumatera
  2. Padang, West Sumatera
  3. Tanjung Pinang, Isles of Riau
  4. Jakarta Special Capital Region of Jakarta*
  5. Surabaya, East Java*
  6. Makassar, South Sulawesi
  7. Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara
  8. Manado, North Sulawesi
  9. Ambon, South Maluku
  10. Jayapura, Papua
  11. Merauke, Papua
  12. Pontianak, West Kalimantan
  13. Tarakan, North Kalimantan
  14. Sorong, West Papua*

The “*” means Fleet Command Base

In order to drafting the gross number of fleets, we will compile the range of every warship type, as below:

  1. Destroyer, 9.300 Nm
  2. Frigate, 8.000 Nm
  3. Corvette/OPV, 5.000 Nm
  4. Fast Craft, 1.000 Nm
  5. Submarine, 6.500 Nm
  6. LPD-LHD-AORS, 10.000 Nm
  7. LST, 3.500 Nm

Now, we need to ratio for each warship type and classes:

  1. Destroyer are become leader in task fleet and overseas patrolling vessel, which need to be comprised directly with the number of primary bases with value of 1:2, which will total up to 28 Destroyer.
  2. Frigate as secondary leader and regional patrolling vessel in task fleet, comprised with the number of the destroyer in primary bases with value of 1:2, which will total up to 56 Frigate.
  3. Corvette/OPV as tertiary strength which securing littoral coast in task fleet, comprised with the number of the frigate in primary bases with value of 1:2, which will total up to 112 Corvette/OPV.
  4. Fast Craft Missile as tertiary strength which act as sky shield in the task fleet comprised with the number of the Corvette/OPV in primary bases with value of 1:1, which will total up to 112 FCM.
  5. LPD-LHD-AORS as supporting vessel in task fleet, comprised with the number of primary bases with value of 1:0.5; 1:0.2; 1:1 which will total up to LPD (7 Fleet), LHD (3-4 Fleet) and AORS (14 Fleet)
  6. LST as supporting vessel in supporting fleet, comprised with the number of AORS with value of 1:4, which will total up to 56 LST.

Total amount of archipelagic-suitable future posture of Indonesia Navy is 388 Ship from 9 Classes.

After calculating total amount of future posture, now we calculate the Nm2-to-ship ratio. Indonesia has sea territory of 5.8 Million Square Km, which equivalent to 1.682 Million Square Nautical Miles, with future projection of 388 Vessel, every ship will oversee 4.336 Nm2 of sea territorial.