August 29 2012 Jakarta (ANTARA News)
Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said on Wednesday that as a country made up of islands, Indonesia needs at least 12 submarines by 2024 to achieve a minimum essential force (MEF) for securing its maritime areas.
"Two-thirds of Indonesia`s total geographical area is covered by sea and we need submarines to monitor it. We need more than 10 submarines," the defense minister said.
At present, Indonesia is building three submarines in collaboration with South Korea. One is being built by South Korea and another by state-shipbuilding firm PT Pal in cooperation with South Korea, Yusgiantoro stated.
"Once these three are completed, they will add to Indonesia's existing submarine fleet of five," he added.
The construction of additional submarines can be carried out in Indonesia, and the existing ones can also be overhauled here, Yusgiantoro noted.
"We hope that PT Pal is able to design the required components for the submarine on its own, so that in future it can assemble as well as build a submarine itself," the minister said.
The Commander of the Indonesian National Defense Forces (TNI) Admiral Agus Suhartono expressed his hope that the requirement for 12 submarines is met even before 2024.
It is essential for Indonesia to secure and maintain peace in its naval territories, the TNI chief said.