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PT PAL Completes Overhaul of Indonesia’s Cakra SSK

Details Sketchy But Repairs and Performance Enhancements Completed

PT PAL has completed overhaul of the Indonesian Navy’s (TNI-AL’s) only remaining Cakra-class (Type 209/1300) diesel-electric submarine attack (SSK) as part of a refit contract awarded in 2017.

KRI Cakra (401) was formally returned to the Indonesian MoD on 21 February, and is set to be handed over to TNI-AL in the near future. PT PAL has been able to provide MRO services for Indonesia’s submarine fleet since completing a dedicated submarine facility at its Surabaya shipyard in 2017.

Few details have emerged about the overhaul of the Cakra, built by Howaldtswerke and commissioned in 1981, but the process is known to have included a number of repairs, replacements, and performance improvements made to the submarine’s pressure hull, mechanical and electrical systems, sensors and navigation (including a periscope upgrade), and its weapon and combat management systems. The MRO is believed to have started in early 2018, and to have included some level of assistance from South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME), which has built two Nagapasa (DSME 209/1400)-class SSKs for the TNI-AL and helped PT PAL with in-country assembly of a third.

Some Indonesian politicians called for Cakra to be decommissioned after the second SSK of this class, Nanggala, was lost in a fatal accident off Bali in April 2021.

The circumstance also prompted Jakarta to continue modernising and expanding the TNI-AL’s submarine fleet, particularly amid rising tensions in Southeast Asia over territorial disputes and Chinese incursions into waters also claimed by Indonesia.

Against this backdrop, France’s Naval Group and PT PAL signed an MoU in early February to boost co-operation in submarine construction, as the TNI-AL sets its sights on acquiring Scorpène-class SSKs. Naval Group provide no further details on the extent of the envisaged co-operation, but French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly tweeted that the agreement comes as Jakarta declared its intention to acquire two Scorpène-class submarines. The French shipbuilder had previously proposed a variant of the Riachuelo class (a Scorpène modified for Brazilian Navy requirements) for the TNI-AL.

Gabriel Dominguez in Singapore for MON


KRI Cakra at sea. (PT PAL)

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