Turkey and Germany Expect to Strike a Defense Deal with Indonesia


German Class-209/1400 submarine

German Class-209/1400 submarine (With permission from HDW; Copyright: HDW)

A senior Turkish official confirmed on Friday that a team of Turkish and German shipbuilding companies expects to win a competition over delivery of two Class-209 Diesel submarines for the Indonesian navy.

The Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News quotes an anonymous source in Turkey’s procurement agency as saying , “Our package is excellent. We are hopeful and waiting for Indonesia’s decision.” The decision is due later this year or early 2012.

Turkey’s Savunma Teknolojileri Mühendislik ve Ticaret A.Ş. (STM) will partner up with German shipbuilder Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft GmbH (HDW) to build two Class-209/1400mod Diesel submarines for the Indonesian navy. The only remaining  competitor is South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine with a very similar boat, the Chang Bogo, after the Russian and French bidders dropped out of the race.

The Russian bid with an improved Kilo-class sub was dismissed early because the boat was considered to big for the restricted Indonesian waters. The ‘Project 636’ boats are almost 12 meters longer than the German subs with 62 meters  length-over-all, and displace 2,350 ts on the surface compared to only 1,400 ts of the Class-209.

The reason for dropping the French Scorpene-class might have been the problems the Malaysian navy has with these boats. The cooling systems are reportedly unable to cope with the tropical water temperature which leads to malfunctioning electronic systems.

Should the Turkish bid be chosen, the two Class-209 submarines will be built at Gölcük naval shipyard in the northwestern province of Kocaeli, by STM under license from HDW. The German shipbuilder declined any comment on the deal, saying that details are confidential.

Turkey tries to make the one billion Dollar price tag easier to accept for Indonesia by offering the lease of two similar boats to cover the time until delivery. Turkish politicians also promised future cooperation with the Indonesian national shipyard PT-PAL.

Although Turkey is competing with South Korea on this bid, the two countries are in fact seeking closer ties on the defense sector with each other. The Turkish air force is already operating the Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) KT-1 basic trainer and is looking for cooperation with KAI to build a domestic fighter jet in an attempt to lessen the dependency on U.S. arms deliveries.

With increasing ability to produce hi-tech weaponry Turkey looks like a rising star on the defense market in the years to come.

(Sources: Hurriyet, Sea News, Jakarta Post; 29 August 2011)

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About Johann Brandstätter

Photojournalist and documentary photographer based in Bulgaria, working mainly in the Balkans and the Middle East. Conflicts & crises, social and environmental issues, defense & military, travel, transportation.
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