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DSEI 2021: Babcock, PT PAL ink licence deal for Arrowhead 140 design

UK defence group Babcock has signed a design licence agreement with Indonesian shipbuilder PT PAL providing for the build of two Arrowhead 140 frigates at PT PAL's facilities in Surabaya, Indonesia.

Babcock said the deal – signed on board the UK Royal Navy (RN) Type 23 frigate HMS Argyll at the DSEI exhibition in London on 16 September – marked the first export success for the Arrowhead 140 design. However, UK officials concede that PT PAL has yet to receive a construction contract from the Indonesian Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Based on the Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate design previously developed by OMT for the Royal Danish Navy, the Arrowhead 140 baseline forms the basis for the RN's new Type 31 Inspiration-class general-purpose frigate. Babcock was selected for the Type 31 programme in September 2019, with a GBP1.25 billion (USD1.72 billion) contract for five ships signed in November that year.

Babcock has since been working alongside the UK government to promote the Arrowhead 140 frigate into the global market. The company is one of three bidders – alongside Navantia and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems – downselected in August this year to provide a potential design solution for the Polish Navy's Miecznik (Swordfish) frigate programme.

The signing ceremony at DSEI was witnessed by Indonesian Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto and his UK counterpart Ben Wallace. Under the design licence agreement, Babcock will now work with PT PAL to tailor a variant of the Arrowhead 140 to meet the specific requirements of the Indonesian Navy, the company said in a statement.

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