Indonesian state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL has entered into a strategic collaboration with European missile manufacturer MBDA to undertake a comprehensive upgrade of the Bung Tomo class corvettes. This joint effort aims to significantly enhance the combat capabilities of all three vessels, marking a crucial advancement in Indonesia’s naval strength. Confirmation of this pivotal partnership was provided by a spokesperson from PT PAL in response to inquiries from global open-source intelligence company Janes, a renowned defense and security publisher. The upgrade initiative, spearheaded by the Indonesian Navy, comprises two distinct phases, each aimed at augmenting the vessels’ operational prowess. By leveraging MBDA’s expertise in missile technology, the corvettes will receive a comprehensive overhaul to ensure their readiness to face modern maritime challenges.
In the initial phase of the upgrade program, PT Len Industri, a state-owned defense electronics company, will serve as the prime contractor. This phase centers on the integration of advanced radars and sensors, bolstering the ships’ situational awareness and surveillance capabilities. Key components for this phase will be supplied by Thales, a leading global technology company specializing in aerospace, defense, and security. Nevesbu, a Netherlands-based naval consultancy, has been selected as the systems integrator for the first phase. Notable components slated for installation during this stage include the TACTICOS combat management system (CMS), the SMART-S Mk2 air-and-surface surveillance radar, and the STIR EO Mk2 radar and electro-optical fire-control system. The second phase of the upgrade program is dedicated to advancing the vessels’ combat systems.
The Bung Tomo class corvettes hold significant historical and strategic importance for Indonesia. Originally constructed for the Royal Brunei Navy under the name Nakhoda Ragam-class corvettes, the vessels were later acquired by Indonesia and renamed in honor of Bung Tomo, a prominent figure in Indonesia’s independence movement. Constructed by BAE Systems Maritime – Naval Ships, these ships incorporate a variant of the F2000 design. Despite facing contractual disputes and arbitration, the vessels eventually found their home in the Indonesian Navy after being acquired from Brunei in 2013. Equipped with a variety of weaponry and systems, including the Oto Melara 76 mm main gun, torpedo tubes, remote weapon stations, and helicopter landing capabilities, the Bung Tomo class corvettes play a critical role in Indonesia’s maritime defense.