Anew type of surface ship is being built in the jungles of Java with the attributes to meet a wide spectrum of mission requirements.
Indonesia’s Klewang class of missile patrol boats will
be fast, stealthy, flexible and lethal. And at 63 meters
(206 feet), it’s big enough to pack a punch, yet small
enough to carry a reduced crew.
The boat is a trimaran with a wide beam, so it will be
roomy and stable, which permits a tall mast to get the surveillance radar up high. It’s constructed from strong and
light composite materials, and is made for littoral warfare.
The Indonesian Navy has more than 75,000 personnel and more than 150 different vessels, including submarines, frigates and other surface combatants, mine
warfare ships and amphibious ships.
While Indonesia has good relations with its neighbors, it faces many maritime safety and security challenges. With its 17,000-plus islands, the nation is the
largest archipelago in the world, stretching 2,500
miles, the distance from New York to San Francisco.
These islands are home to more than 250 million people, with more than half — 143 million — living on
Java, the world’s most populous island.
Indonesia has stated an ambition to improve its naval capabilities, both defensive and offensive.
The country sits astride the busy
sea lanes that connect the Indian
and Pacific Oceans, with straits
with strong currents and a high
volume of shipping. Indonesian
waters include the southern part of
the South China Sea, with its many
islands and territorial disputes.
There is piracy, smuggling and
other illegal activity in the region,
and there are many places to hide.
The rich waters attract fisherman
from a number of countries, and
many of them are taking the fish
without a license — a multibillion dollar loss to Indonesia
every year. There also is a burgeoning Indonesian offshore
energy industry. The investment for which comes with an
expectation of secure operating conditions.
The new missile attack craft is being built by North
Sea Boats shipyard in Banyuwangi, on the eastern tip of
Java, across a narrow strait from the island of Bali.
“We started building ships about 10 years ago,” said
John Lundin, North Sea Boats owner and chief execu-
tive officer, who is from a Swedish family with a ship-
building tradition. “We had done aluminum in
Sweden, but we saw that composites were the future
for highly specialized high-speed boats. After a couple
of years doing pleasure boats for export, we were get-
ting noticed by the defense sector. We saw the large
potential for small- to medium-size boats for the navy
and coast guard, and that’s the niche we are now
The Indonesian Navy has been a good customer, and
North Sea Boats completed several smaller research and
development boat programs together with the Navy that
turned out well. But the Navy had a big need for a ship
that could operate in high sea states.
Made for Littoral Warfare
Indonesian trimaran offers speed, stealth, stability and lethality
By EDWARD LUNDQUIST, Special Correspondent
The Indonesian Navy is responsible for maintaining security, safety and sovereignty across a large area, with a challenging and
diverse littoral environment.
■ Its new, all-composite, 63-meter trimaran will be big enough to
pack a punch; small enough to carry a reduced crew.
■ Locally built, with a Swedish combat system, it has significant
capability for its size and cost.
■ The diesel-powered trimaran uses water jets to achieve speeds of
more than 30 knots, even in high seas. Compared to a frigate with
similar surveillance capabilities, the trimaran uses 90 percent less fuel.