State-owned shipbuilder PT PAL Indonesia and French defense company Naval Group are under negotiation on several issues in the purchasing of Scorpene submarines. A source from Naval told Indonesia Business Post that the discussion was focusing on the number of Scorpene submarine that will be purchased and the price of a submarine unit.
“It is still under discussion but PT PAL will buy between 2 and 6,” the source said on November 3, 2022, on the sideline of the Indo Defense 2022 Expo and Forum in Jakarta. He added that the budget for the acquisition of the Scorpene would range between US$4 and $6 billion.
However, PT PAL refused to comment on the issue when contacted by the Post.
On February 10, 2022, Naval Group CEO Pierre Eric Pommellet and PT PAL CEO Kaharuddin Djenod signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), witnessed by Indonesia Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto and the then French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly.
The MoU was to leverage the capabilities of both companies to meet the growing requirements of the Indonesian Navy. Both companies are leaders in their markets and confirm their willingness to further increase their cooperation by opening a joint R&D center involving other Indonesian companies.
Scorpene, the source said, was a special submarine with a stealth technology with armament and weapons capability. “It has the capability to fire a missile and torpedo, which is a big difference to other submarines,” he said.
Naval will provide technical assistance and transfer of technology to PT PAL in developing the submarine. “PT PAL is a good choice for manufacturing our submarines, it is an augmentation of capability because the submarine designer has its own technology and technical skills. PT PAL is completely ready and skillful to manufacture this kind of submarine,” the source added.
To manufacture Scorpene submarine, a shipyard has to provide the materials and guarantee the resistance of the submarine hull. The submarine has subsystem of energy production, electricity, DTE sensors with sonar and others.
A shipyard may have the capability to make the hull. However, it needs to have the capability to integrate all the subsystem from difference companies. Naval, the source said, had a huge partnership with different companies that make the subsystem such as sensors, sonar and periscope from French company Safran Group.
“It is a job of system integration to install, validate and deliver a submarine,” he added.
Generally, it takes 6 to 8 years to build a submarine, depending on the specification. Currently, Naval and PT PAL is under discussion on the duration of the submarine manufacturing. The life cycle of Scorpene submarine can range from 35 to 45 years.