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Indo Defence 2022: PT PAL unveils autonomous submarine concept

A model of the KSOT unmanned submarine concept at Indo Defence 2022. (Janes/Ridzwan Rahmat)

Indonesian state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL has unveiled a locally designed autonomous submarine concept at the Indo Defence 2022 exhibition.

Speaking to Janes at the exhibition, PT PAL described the concept as a testament of the shipbuilder's latest capabilities and said it has been conceived with support from the Indonesian Ministry of Defense (MoD).

The concept is known as the Kapal Selam Autonomous (KSOT) and it has an overall length of approximately 25 m, a diameter of about 4 m, and a submerged displacement of about 262 tonne. According to PT PAL's CEO Kaharuddin Djenod, PT PAL has designed the KSOT such that it can be assembled at its facilities in Surabaya within 12 months.

It will be able to take on light combat operations with decisions aided by onboard artificial intelligence systems, he said, adding that the KSOT is more than just an “underwater drone” as it will be equipped with lethal effectors in addition to sensors and monitoring equipment.

The KSOT is powered by an electric motor instead of a diesel engine, making it more difficult to detect. When surfaced, the vessel has a top speed of 6 kt and a cruising speed of 5 kt. When submerged, the KSOT can attain a top speed of 12 kt. It is armed with two torpedo tubes and can be equipped with a flank sonar array along its hull, and a mine and obstacle avoidance sonar at its bow.

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