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PT PAL teams up with MBDA to upgrade Indonesia's Bung Tomo class

Indonesian Navy's lead Bung Tomo-class vessel seen here during the 69th TNI Day Parade in Surabaya. All vessels in the class are being upgraded to fire the Exocet Block 3 missile. (Janes/Ridzwan Rahmat)

Indonesian state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL has inked a contract with European missile manufacturer MBDA to enhance the combat capabilities of all three frigates in the Bung Tomo class.

Confirmation on the matter was provided by a PT PAL spokesperson in response to questions from Janes on the class' upgrade programme.

The Bung Tomo class is a fleet of three corvettes that were originally built for the Royal Brunei Navy under a contract signed between Bandar Seri Begawan and then-Yarrow Shipbuilders in 1995.

However, the vessels were never commissioned by Brunei because of contractual disputes.

The vessels were subsequently acquired by the Indonesian Navy and the service re-designated all three corvettes as frigates in 2014.

According to information provided by the PT PAL spokesperson, the Indonesian Navy's programme to upgrade each vessel is divided into two phases, with each vessel undergoing the enhancements consecutively.

The first phase involves the installation of new radars and sensors, while the second phase pertains to an upgrade of the vessel's combat system.

For the first phase, state-owned defence electronics company PT Len Industri has been appointed as the prime contractor, with the majority of components supplied by Thales.

In addition, Janes understands that Netherlands-based naval consultancy Nevesbu has been appointed as a systems integrator for this stage.

Janes also understands that among components being installed in this phase 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.

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