Defense Minister Prabowo in London, Indonesia Bags Frigate Design License from UK

Defense Minister Prabowo in London, Indonesia Bags Frigate Design License from UK

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Defense Minister Prabowo in London, Indonesia Bags Frigate Design License from UK
Contract signing between PT PAL Indonesia and Babcock International at the Defense and Security Equipment International (DSEI) 2021 event in London, witnessed by Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto and UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace. (Photo: Kemhan RI)

IO – Indonesia has secured a design license agreement with Babcock International, a UK-based aerospace, defense and security company, through PT PAL, Indonesia’s state-owned shipbuilding enterprise, to manufacture the Arrowhead 140 frigate. This agreement was signed at the Defense and Security Equipment International (DSEI) 2021 event in London, onboard HMS Argyll, and was witnessed by Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto and UK Defense Secretary, Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP, Thursday (9/16). 

“Today is a really exciting moment for Babcock and our frigate export program, as we sign the design license with PAL for two new frigates for the Indonesian Navy,” said David Lockwood, CEO Babcock.

The basic design of the Arrowhead 140 frigate can be configured to meet a broad range of naval requirements. PT PAL will design the necessary modifications to configure the warships, tailored to Indonesian needs. 

UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said this agreement signaled the strength of the Indonesia-UK defense relationship to protect their mutual interests around the world. “The Arrowhead 140 frigate design benefits from a proven hull-form that has been tried and tested in real-world operational environments from NATO,” praised Wallace.

Meanwhile, UK Ambassador to Indonesia and Timor Leste Owen Jenkins said that Indonesia and the UK have a very good defense and security relationship. Memorandums of understanding between the two countries cover various areas from cyber, defense, navy and maritime.

According to Owen, the navies of the two countries regularly meet, every other year. Indonesia and the UK also have a joint training agenda on maritime security. “Sharing the same new ship is the next step that should be taken. I am really looking forward to our partners in Indonesia building this ship at the Surabaya facilities,” he said.

As the warship will be built in Indonesia, it will contribute to the country’s economy and regional security. Babcock also supports the empowerment of the local workforce in ship manufacturing to maintain the sovereignty of Indonesia. The UK company did not disclose the value of the agreement or the number of units to be produced but only said that the production of the warships would be carried out by PT PAL Indonesia (Persero).

The Arrowhead 140 is a combat frigate, currently in high demand, that made its debut in 2019 when Babcock was announced as the preferred bidder for the UK Type 31 frigate program at DSEI 2019.

Babcock was recently selected by the Polish Government to provide a potential design solution for the Polish Navy’s Miecznik (Swordfish) frigate program. 

The Arrowhead 140 frigate was first built in May 2018 to fortify the UK navy. It is a general-purpose light frigate that can be used for rescue, maritime surveillance, military presence and deterrence and other maritime missions.

With a maximum length of 138.7 meters, a width of 19.8 meters and a weight of up to 5,700 tons, the war vessel can carry up to 160 people and is operated by a minimum of 100 crew. The ship’s stern deck can accommodate helicopters weighing up to 15 tons, such as the AW-101 Merlin, MH-60 Seahawk or smaller helicopters, such as the AW159 Wildcat, plus unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

Defense Minister Prabowo has actively traveled to establish cooperation with a number of countries to strengthen Indonesia’s defense system for the National Armed Forces (TNI). Last June, Prabowo purchased eight frigates from Italian company Fincantieri, consisting of six FREMM-class frigates and two modernized Maestrale-class frigates.