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14 Sep 2023

Indonesian Government acquires new UK built Submarine Rescue System in $100m contract

Indonesian Government acquires new UK built Submarine Rescue System in $100m contract
SMP Press Release
Submarine Manufacturing and Products Ltd (SMP), a leading UK based manufacturer and supplier of diving and subsea rescue equipment, will provide its new Submarine Rescue System (SRS) to the Indonesian Navy. The SRS will be hosted on a mothership designed by independent design and engineering consultancy Houlder and delivered by its Indonesian strategic partner, BTI Defence.

The three-year build contract will include the UK design and manufacture of the SRS, centred around SMP's new market-leading SRV-F Mk3 rescue submersible. The custom build of the mothership will take place in region, along with the associated expert training for the Indonesian Navy who will operate the system when it is in service. 

The SMP SRV-F Mk3 has been developed by the new SMP management team, consisting of seven of the world’s foremost submarine rescue experts. As a hybrid system which is capable of deployment both by air and on its mothership, the SRV-F Mk3 can react to a wide range of emergency scenarios, covering larger operating areas and minimising Time To First Rescue (TTFR).

When deployed by air, the rescue submersible can be towed to and from the distressed submarine’s location without needing to be recovered to deck. This key attribute reduces the time, risk and complexity of a rescue mobilisation and also greatly increases the likelihood of a suitable support ship being available on location. This hybrid approach saves critical time for stranded crews facing diminishing life support supplies, and avoids the integration challenges and dependencies associated with flyaway-only or mothership-only rescue systems.

The SRV-F Mk3 can dive to depths of 500m and is unparalleled in its ability to carry up to 50 rescuees at a time. The adoption of a “One Out, All Out” philosophy facilitates the rapid rescue of an entire crew from a conventional submarine in a single mission, in contrast with other rescue systems which require repeated trips to the distressed submarine.

In addition to the SRV-F Mk3, the new mothership is fitted with a suite of support equipment, including a handling system, an advanced Transfer Under Pressure (TUP) system and a dedicated Decompression Chamber, enabling the immediate medical attention and treatment of rescued personnel.

Ben Sharples, Managing Director at SMP said: “We are delighted to have been selected to support the Indonesian Navy to provide their submarine rescue system and are grateful for the support from UK Export Finance (UKEF) throughout the process. The market is evolving, and countries operating conventional submarines in regional waters simply do not need complex systems of the massive scale of nuclear navies. The logistical challenges that come with these larger systems take up time which, in an emergency, we just don’t have. 

“Delivering this system for Indonesia alongside our strategic partners further cements SMP's leading position in this field. Our approach is to think differently and innovatively about our products and to provide solutions which deliver against the specific needs of our customers, and ultimately help to protect or save lives”.

Lord Dominic Johnson, Minister for Investment from the UK Department for Business and Trade said: “It's fantastic to see UK companies securing a prominent international contract and being supported by the UK Government along the way to achieve this success.

“This impressive deal to provide the Indonesian Navy with new life-protecting equipment is a true testament to UK’s innovative and attractive business and investment ecosystem.  

“The programme will not only bring capital to the North of England, but also deepen our collaboration with our Indonesian partners. I look forward to seeing the project go from strength to strength.” 

The Director General for Defence Potential, Indonesian Ministry of Defence, Major General Mohammad Fadjar, MPICT said: “The realization of this Submarine Rescue Vehicle Project marks a new era for the Indonesian Navy in terms of acquiring this critical capability, as well as being an important step for Indonesia's indigenous defence industry capability.
“Working closely with BTI Defence and its key partners, the Ministry of Defence has ensured that in the process of introducing this important rescue capability into our Navy, we will also be expanding our local defence manufacturing capabilities through the introduction of new skills, new knowledge, and new technologies, particularly in the field of sub-surface operations.

“The industrial cooperation offered by this solution will have a huge impact and add value to the Indonesian defence industry, with a network of supply chain companies supporting the through-life and after sales service support. This is in-line with the Minister Prabowo's vision of a forward-looking, modern, independent, and competitive Indonesian Defence Industry.

“What is being achieved and delivered through this project will serve as an example for others to follow and that is something that everyone involved in this project should be proud of.”

Peter Tjahjono, Director at BTI Defence said: “Winning this contract represents a significant milestone for BTI Defence. The prestigious nature of this project and its significance for Indonesia is a highlight for us. For years, this was one of the most coveted and actively pursued contracts on the MOD’s agenda; and for BTI Defence to win it shows how far we have come as a company.

“I have to acknowledge that working with some of the best companies in the industry and the foremost experts in the field of Submarine Rescue gives BTI Defence the opportunity to learn, grow and expand its capabilities as a company. 

“We all knew that this project was well within our reach, because from the beginning we believed in the technological merits of our proposed solution, we had absolute faith and trust in our key partners, and we were at all times guided by our commitment to give Indonesia the most advanced, adaptable and rapidly deployable Submarine Rescue System in the world today.”

Julian Mason, Director of Ship Design & Engineering at Houlder said: “We have worked closely with SMP and BTI Defence to carefully understand the requirement for a bespoke submarine rescue mothership for the Indonesian Navy and we have developed an inventive concept design that meets their needs, including maximising safety and efficient deployment. 

“We are pleased to be collaborating on this project; we take pride in operating in truly global markets and tackling specialist naval architecture challenges like this. We look forward to further design, engineering and shipyard management work as the project progresses.”

The contract with the Indonesian Navy follows the recent change in ownership at SMP resulting from the sale of the company to a new shareholder team. The former owner, Phil Connolly, remains Chairman of SMP. The new management team now comprises several of the world’s leading submarine rescue experts, subsea and diving specialists, engineers and naval architects. They understand each element of the subsea support and rescue industry and have unrivalled knowledge of the problems their products solve and the real-life impact they have on submarine operations. 
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