May 5, 2014

Indonesian Navy to acquire 16 ASW helicopters

The Indonesian Navy is to acquire 16 AS565 Panther anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopters from Airbus Helicopters.
The contract is in the final stages of being approved by the defence ministry. The aim is to embark the aircraft on vessels such as the SIGMA 10514-class guided-missile corvettes.
According to the Indonesian Navy, the decision to purchase the AS565 was made at the recommendation of aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI), which will be involved in the production of the aircraft. PTDI has previously worked with Airbus on the manufacture of CN235 medium transport aircraft.
The navy's ASW helicopter requirement is one element of Jakarta's ongoing programme to develop what it calls a 'Minimum Essential Force' (MEF), which also includes the development of a defence industrial base through transfer of technology.
The requirement for ASW helicopters reflects the increase in subsurface fleets in Southeast Asia. Singapore is expanding its submarine fleet from four to six boats with the procurement of two Type 218SGs from ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, while Vietnam recently received the first two of six 'Kilo'-class boats from Russia. Indonesia itself is purchasing three Chang Bogo-class diesel-electric attack submarines from South Korea, while China's ongoing naval build-up includes attack and ballistic missile submarines.

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