Home General Indonesia: Controversy Over $85 Million Tab For Old Korean Warship

Indonesia: Controversy Over $85 Million Tab For Old Korean Warship


Indonesia’s parliament has approved a proposal to accept a donated corvette from South Korea for its navy, despite concerns from the defence committee regarding the vessel’s age and the estimated $85 million required for maintenance.

Defence Minister and incoming president, Prabowo Subianto, has been advocating for the modernisation of Indonesia’s ageing military equipment. He aims to invest billions in acquiring new jets and submarines to bolster the country’s defence capabilities. Historically, Indonesia has lagged behind its regional counterparts in defence spending as a percentage of gross domestic product.

But Prabowo’s decision to procure used hardware has faced resistance, prompting his ministry to ditch a plan to buy used fighter jets from Qatar that had been criticised as too old.

The 36-year old Bucheon 773 corvette, which is 88.3 metres long, will increase Indonesia’s military capability, but the navy would need to spend $85 million for maintenance and other additional costs before it can operate, deputy defence minister Herindra told parliament.

“Ideally we buy a new one but it will take a long time … This is better than having nothing at all,” he said, adding the vessel could be used for the next 10-15 years and a new model would cost $300 million to $500 million.

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Most members of parliament’s commission overseeing defence issues questioned whether the grant would be beneficial.

“Will the ship strengthen the navy or will it just burden them?”

commission member TB Hasanuddin said.

The grant comes after Indonesia and South Korea settled a dispute over funding for a joint KF-21 fighter jet project worth at least $6 billion.

With Inputs from Reuters