Naval Warfare

Indonesia Approves Proposal to Buy ex-Republic of Korea Navy Pohang-class Corvettes

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Indonesia Approves Proposal to Buy ex-Republic of Korea Navy Pohang-class Corvettes

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Republic of Korea Navy Pohang-class Corvettes
Republic of Korea Navy Pohang-class Corvettes

The Indonesian Ministry of Finance (MoF) has approved a previously rejected proposal for the country to purchase ex-Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN) Pohang-class corvettes with foreign-sourced loans. The approval was confirmed in a notice issued by the Ministry of Finance to the Ministry of Defense (MoD) on 7 December. The defense news and analysis company Janes reported that first reported in October 2022 that the MoD had requested to procure at least one ex-South Korean corvette as a stopgap measure for the Indonesian Navy. The ministry had also proposed that the procurement be financed with funds from a foreign lender. This proposal was rejected by the MoF then, but no reasons were given.

Details provided in the 7 December notice indicate that this proposal was re-submitted by the MoD on 28 October, in addition to a list of other proposed procurements, such as shipborne systems and munitions. The MoD has now cleared the MoF to take on up to $21 million in foreign loans to fund the proposed acquisition of up to three Pohang-class corvettes. A copy of the notice was provided to Janes by a source close to the matter in late January 2023. The acquisition of foreign-sourced goods and services must take into account the involvement of local companies and how these companies can contribute to the strengthening of Indonesia’s strategic defense industries.

The Pohang-class PCC (Patrol Combat Corvette) is the low-end complement of the high-low mix domestic naval construction plan of the Republic of Korea Navy under the 1st Yulgok Project (1974-1986) for the Republic of Korea Armed Forces. It was originally planned as a Batch II production of Donghae-class corvette, but many changes on overall design, notably applying the hull design of Ulsan-class frigate, reclassified the ship to its own class. The ship is designed for patrolling maritime border, including the Northern Limit Line, protecting the littoral zone, and combating the North Korean vessels.

Since 1984, a total of 24 Pohang-class corvettes commissioned in the Republic of Korea Navy. The decommission of the class started in 2009, and is being replaced with series of FFX program. As of January 2023, 5 remain in service in the ROKN, and 7 were transferred to other navies. In a statement released on January 20, 2022, Admiral Yudo Margono, the Chief of Staff of the Indonesian Navy, announced that the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) will transfer a retired corvette to Indonesia. The gifted corvette will pave the way for the procurement of additional submarines or surface vessels by Indonesia. Some expect greater cooperation between the Republic of Korea Navy (RoKN) and the Indonesian Navy will open up new business opportunities for ROK shipbuilders.

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