Indonesian Navy ramps up PC-40 patrol boat programme
Warship Techology: March 2018
The Indonesian Navy or Tentara Nasional Indonesia Angkatan Laut (TNIAL) operates a large gun-armed patrol boat fleet in addition to considerable number of missile-armed fast attack craft known as kapal cepat rudal, or KCRs.
For an archipelagic nation like Indonesia, large numbers of patrol craft are essential for ensuring maritime security in inshore and offshore waters. As of September 2016, the TNIAL operated about 150 patrol boats but the goal is expand the patrol fleet to 180 hulls according to Rear Admiral Mulyadi who is head of logistics and warship procurement.
Towards this goal, there are a number of patrol boat programmes underway for 28m, 40m and 60m platforms as part of Indonesia’s ongoing armed forces modernisation programme to 2024. The programme is known as the Minimum Essential Force (MEF) initiative. Current plans call for building 42 40m hulls by 2024 under the PC-40 programme, a similar number of 28m hulls under the KAL-28 programme, and at least six hulls under the PC-60 programme.
To date, some 16 or so PC-40 hulls have been ordered from a number of shipyards with funding from the 2015-2016 budget. In a departure from past practice, starting in early 2015, the TNIAL decided to order a number of PC-40 hulls to a largely standardised design that would be built to Bureau Veritas classification standards by two Batam based yards – PT Palindo Marine and PT Karimun Anugrah Sejati (PT KAS) – as well as PT Caputra Mitra Sejati (PT CMS) in Banten.
Doing so is certainly a step in the right direction for the TNIAL which expects to realise operational and logistic benefits from the significant level of standardisation in these patrol boats.
As of November 2017, at least six hulls and possibly as many as 10, including three from PT Palindo, two from PT KAS and one from PT CMS, had been delivered while PT CMS had commenced work on a new PC-40 hull in March 2017. The rest are slated for completion in the 2018 timeframe according to the navy chief Admiral Ade Supandi, who confirmed details of the project during a commissioning ceremony of some of the PC-40 patrol boats in March 2017.
Whilst the newbuild PC-40 aluminium-hulled patrol boats have a near identical external appearance, there are significant detail differences in hull, mechanical and engineering systems and material specifications as well as internal layouts between hulls from different yards as yards have opted to exercise their design preferences.
For example, KRI Torani (pennant 860) and KRI Lepu (pennant 861), built by PT KAS in March 2017 have an overall length of 45m, length between perpendiculars of 40m, beam of 7.8m and draught of 1.9m. They are powered by two MTU 12V40000M71 diesels (with a total power rating of 3,312kW) driving two propellers. Their maximum speed is 28knots at full load. Fuel capacity is 96.53m3. Their endurance is six days.
Torani and Lepu are the first patrol boats in the TNIAL to be fitted with Oto Melara’s Marlin WS remotely operated 30mm cannon with built-in electro-optical trackers that can detect targets as far away as 10km and engage them at a maximum range of 3,000m with a maximum rate of fire of 225 rounds per minute.
On the other hand, KRI Tatihu with pennant 853, Layaran with pennant 854 and Madidihang with pennant number 855 – which were built by PT Palindo have an overall length of 46.23m, length between perpendiculars of 40m, beam of 7.9m and draught of 1.7m. They are powered by two 12-cylinder diesels with a total rating of 3,650kW driving two propellers. This gives them a similar maximum speed to Torani and Lepu although fuel capacity is considerably less at 73.2m3. At the time of the delivery, they were not fitted with a main gun.
Another PC-40 hull, KRI Kurau with pennant 856, built by PT CMS in Banten, was launched in March 2017 and entered service in July 2017. According to the builder, this vessel has a length of 45.5m, length between perpendiculars of 41.87m, beam of 7.9m and a draught of 1.7m. Its standard displacement is about 200tonnes according to the TNIAL. Although it is powered by two MTU 12V4000M71 engines, its maximum speed is considerably less than the other PC-40 types at a little over 25knots, with a range of 1,632nm at 18knots and fuel capacity of about 70m3. Kurau is the third PC-40 to be fitted with the Marlin WS gun system. However, all these hulls appear to be fitted with twin MTU 12V40000M71 diesels, have a complement of around 35 persons, and an endurance of six days.
In general, the hulls are being launched in a largely complete state in about 10-11 months. The time period from keel-laying to delivery is about 15 months – which is comfortably within the 17 month contractual requirement according to PT Palindo officials. It remains to be seen if all sixteen PC-40 hulls on order are actually completed by end 2018.