Turkish-Indonesian relations deepen with defense industry cooperation

Nordic Monitor


Turkey and Indonesia are striving to deepen their emerging defense and aerospace industry cooperation with new purchases and official talks on joint programs and projects.

The South Asian country has become the first export customer of ZOKA acoustic torpedo countermeasures jammers and decoys produced by Turkish defense contractor ASELSAN, the UK based Janes reported. ASELSAN is owned by the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation (TAFF) and controlled by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The equipment, which was delivered by ASELSAN as part of a contract signed in 2019, arrived in Indonesia on October 22.

On the same day, Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto paid a visit to Turkey and met with Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar in Ankara. According to an official press release by the Turkish Defense Ministry, they discussed ways to boost bilateral cooperation in the defense industry.

In Ankara Subianto also met with Chairman of the Defense Industries Presidency Ismail Demir. “We held a meeting with Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto and his delegation. At the meeting, we exchanged views on cooperation and export issues in various fields, especially UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles], marine and land vehicles,” Demir tweeted following the bilateral meeting on October 22. Earlier in 2018, Indonesian aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara announced that it was collaborating with Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI/TUSAŞ) to produce UAVs.

The Kaplan MT (Tiger in Turkish) tanks, jointly developed by Turkey’s FNSS Defense Industries Company and Indonesian state-owned PT PINDAD, have advanced to the production phase. According to the reports, 18 tanks will be manufactured in the next two years for the Indonesian armed forces.

Windu Paramata, head of the medium tank project at PT Pindad, previously announced that the Philippines and Bangladesh had expressed interest in buying 40 to 50 units each.


Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and his Indonesian counterpart, Subianto, met in Ankara on October 22.


Turkey’s Aselsan has delivered the first batch of acoustic torpedo countermeasures jammers and decoys for the Indonesian Navy’s Nagapasa (Type 209/1400)-class diesel-electric submarines. Indonesian state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL will be working with engineers from ASELSAN to integrate the system onboard all three Nagapasa-class boats.

Acoustic decoys are aimed at deceiving incoming torpedoes by emulating the dynamic and acoustic behaviors of the submarine. The jammers work by emitting noises that saturate the acoustic operating frequencies of torpedoes, while the decoys can be programmed to simulate the acoustic and hydrographic characteristics of the host submarine.

These effectors are launched from ASELSAN’s Zargana dispenser system, which can deploy up to 24 decoys or jammers in single-shot or salvo modes, without generating any air bubbles that may compromise the host submarine’s position.


Kaplan MT


In April 2019, Turkey’s FNSS and PT PINDAD signed an accord titled “Long-Term Cooperation Agreement for the Serial Production of the Kaplan MT Medium-Weight Class Tank,” in Turkey.

FNSS and PT Pindad have designed, developed and built two prototypes of the Kaplan MT under a 2015 deal. The prototypes have passed field tests in Turkey and Indonesia and were certified by the Indonesian military. The deal is part of a defense industry cooperation agreement between Turkey and Indonesia.

The Kaplan MT is being equipped with ASELSAN’s PULAT Active Protection System (APS) to defend against evolving threats on the battlefield.

The Kaplan MT is powered by a power pack located at the rear of the vehicle, which delivers a power-to-weight ratio of about 20 horsepower per ton. The engine transfers this power to the driving system, which has a six-wheel, anti-shock suspension system with double-pinned tracks mounted on torsion bars.


Structure of the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation (TAFF).


TAFF, the owner of ASELSAN, was founded in 1987 to “enhance the combat strength of the Turkish Armed Forces” and has played a leading role in the establishment and development of the defense industry. In addition to ASELSAN, TAFF directly or indirectly controls major companies such as HAVELSAN (electronics), ISBIR (generators and alternators), ASPILSAN (battery pack products), ROKETSAN (rockets and missiles) and TAI (aerospace and satellites). In 2018 it earned 43 percent of the Turkish defense industry’s total revenue, while it was responsible for 41 percent of defense exports.

On December 24, 2017 President Erdoğan issued a decree placing the military managed “foundation” under his control. Today, the TAFF board of trustees, the main decision-making organ of the organization, is chaired by Erdoğan.

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