Heru Andriyanto, Jakarta – State-run shipbuilder PAL Indonesia will manufacture two frigates for the Navy under license from UK-based defense company Babcock, following a recent London trip by Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto.
Babcock has agreed a license deal for PAL to manufacture Arrowhead 140 (AH140) frigate, which was designed "with speed and maneuverability in mind".
The Defense Ministry said in a statement on Friday that PAL will build two new frigates with specific design specifications to meet the requirements of the Indonesian Navy. The value of the joint production remains undisclosed.
According to the British Embassy in Jakarta, the same frigates will soon enter service with the Royal Navy as well.
The agreement "is the first of its kind for the ship, though other countries are likely to follow suit," the embassy said, adding that others already shortlisted the ship as preferred in procurement processes for their own Navies.
A day earlier, Prabowo and his British counterpart Ben Wallace witnessed the contract signing in London.
The embassy said Babcock will "cut steel" next week and start building Arrowhead 140 for the British Navy in Scotland.
"Signaling the strength of our defense relationship with Indonesia, both of our Naval Forces will operate this world-leading frigate in the future and will work closely together to protect our mutual interests around the world," Defense Secretary Ben Wallace was quoted as saying.
Babcock said the Indonesian deal came two years since the AH140 design was first announced as the preferred bidder for the UK Type 31 frigate program with the contract confirmed in November of the same year.
The agreement was signed at the Defense and Security Equipment International (DSEI) 2021 event in London, on board HMS Argyll, by Babcock CEO David Lockwood and PAL CEO Kaharuddin Djenod.
"Working with our Indonesian colleagues this contract will see Arrowhead 140 frigates built in Indonesia, by the local workforce, contributing directly to the social and economic value of its sovereign shipbuilding community and country as a whole. We look forward to further opportunities to support PAL as the program matures," Lockwood said.
According to the company, a key unique selling point of the ship is the predictive maintenance system – which identifies issues early, maximizing value for money for taxpayers.
"Indonesia and the UK have an excellent defense and security relationship – facilitated by Memorandums of Understanding on topics from cyber to defense, to Navy and maritime," British Ambassador to Indonesia Owen Jenkins said.
"I can't wait to see Indonesians building this ship in the docks of Surabaya."