Jakarta- The Indonesian Navy plans to buy up to 60 modern patrol vessels over the next decade to strengthen maritime security and catch up with its technologically advanced counterparts in Asia, said Navy Chief of Staff Bernard Kent Sondakh.
“Within 10 years, we will be able to have 50 or 60 new patrol vessels. At present, the Navy only has around 129 patrol vessels,” Antara news agency on Feb 11 quoted him a saying.
The Navy’s current fleet is deemed insufficient to patrol the world’s largest archipelagic nation and whose waters are among the world’s most pirate-infested areas, AFP news agency reported.
The largely unguarded sea lanes also allow Islamic militants – the Al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiah – to freely cross borders intoMalaysiaand thePhilippines.
Adm Sondakh said despite having the biggest naval force inAsia,Indonesiastill lags behind its regional counterparts in armament and technology.
“Other Asian countries have smaller fleet strength but their warships are newer and have a higher mobility, while our vessels are almost obsolete and some are second-hand,” he said.
Another seniorofficer, Rear Admiral Bijah Soebijanto, said the Navy would require at least 302 warships and 170 aircraft to defend its sea lanes.
* Indonesia Navy needs at least 302 warships – Naval Officer (Antara, Feb 11)