Indonesia, Japan sign defense cooperation agreement, export of up to 8 Mogami-class frigates


The second Mogami-class frigate for the JMSDF, the Kumano, during launching on November 2020. Photo c/o Navy Recognition.

The Indonesian and Japanese governments has signed a defense cooperation agreement that allows the transfer and sale of Japanese defense equipment and technology to Indonesia, as part of a "Two plus two" meeting held in Tokyo on 30 March 2021.

This meeting and signing of agreement, attended by Indonesia's Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto, and Japan's Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Defense Minister Kishi Nobuo, will strengthen the military ties of both countries amidst China's aggressive behaviour in the Indo-Pacific region.

Also discussed were their concerns of China's territorial claims and growing influence in the region, the potential sale of up to 8 Mogami-class guided missile frigates to the Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL), and concerns over violence in Myanmar.

Japan and Indonesia also agreed to actively participate in multinational military exercises, as well as for Japan to assist in developing Indonesian remote islands in the South China Sea.

This development is another milestone for Japan, which has been pursuing a greater export market for its defense equipment and technology after lifting a constitution-mandated arms export ban in 2014. 

Japan has signed similar agreements with the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam, and is said to be pushing for a similar agreement with Thailand. So far, the Philippines was the first major defense export market of Japan with the sale of 4 air defense radars from Mitsubishi Electric for the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

The sale of Mogami-class frigates is a major topic in the meeting, with both countries looking at potentially selling 8 frigates. Four of the frigates would be built in Japan, while 4 more frigates can be built by Indonesian state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL under a technology transfer agreement.

APDJ earlier reported that Indonesia was eyeing the Iver Huitfeldt-class large frigates from Denmark, and has shortlisted the 30FFX Mogami-class from Japan, the Dutch 10514 frigate from Damen, Italy's Bergamini-class (FREMM) from Fincantierri, and the Arrowhead 140 design from UK's Babcock International.

The Mogami-class frigates is currently being built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). Based on JMSDF's requirement, each Mogami-class frigate costs around US$450 million.

Japan is also expected to market the Mogami-class frigate to other Asian Pacific countries.

[1] Japan Today
[2] Asia Times
[3] The Diplomat

Indonesia, Japan sign defense cooperation agreement, export of up to 8 Mogami-class frigates Indonesia, Japan sign defense cooperation agreement, export of up to 8 Mogami-class frigates Reviewed by Asia Pacific Defense Journal on April 03, 2021 Rating: 5

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