The Indonesian Army operates several different very short range air defence (VSHORAD) systems from different suppliers and as these are being replaced, companies want to edge each other out of the running.
Swedish defence manufacturer Saab has announced a partnership with domestic Indonesian manufacturer PT Pindad to provide the RBS 70 NG system with the Giraffe 1X radar apparently to replace older RBS 70 systems, but also to try and force out existing VSHORAD system contractor Thales.
Thales beat Saab in the latter stages of Indonesia’s air defence system competition in early 2014. Thales was awarded a £ 100 million contract to provide the ForceShield air defence system that includes their Starstreak missile fired from a Rapid Ranger launcher mounted on a Vamtac ST5 4x4 vehicle from Spanish company URO.
Integration is being completed by Indonesian company PT Len and deliveries are underway. It also includes provision of vehicle-mounted CM200 radar - although at IndoDefence 2016 other contenders were still circling.
A spokesperson from Thales told Shephard that it was natural for Saab to try and undermine their position in Indonesia as Thales would do the same to them. But he added that although Indonesia wants more air defence systems, ‘from an operational perspective, more of the same [Starstreak] would be best’.
MBDA was also seen hosting officials from the Indonesian military to talk about air defence systems including models of the Enhanced Modular Air Defence Solution (EMADS), Mistral ATLAS vehicle-mounted air defence system and VL MICA.
The Indonesian Army already uses the Mistral VSHORAD system mounted on a PT Pindad Komodo vehicle that are expected to last until 2020. It is expected that the army might go for a replacement with a longer range system.
Kongsberg is also getting in on the action with its NASAMS system and told Shephard: ‘Indonesia has a requirement for medium-range air defence’, and although it is a larger system there is no reason why the company could not try and expand its remit to cover short and medium ranges.
The Kongsberg spokesperson explained that different countries have different definitions for short and medium range and therefore air defence seems like a moveable feast for the hungriest beast.