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France Offers New ‘Scorpene Evolved’ Li-Ion Submarine to Indonesia (under full local production scheme)


Jul 25, 2013
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France Offers New ‘Scorpene Evolved’ Li-Ion Submarine to Indonesia​


A rendering of a Scorpène-class submarine sailing in Philippine waters. Rendering Courtesy of Naval Group.

France Offers New ‘Scorpene Evolved’ Li-Ion Submarine to Indonesia​

In its latest proposal to the Indonesian Navy, France's Naval Group is proposing a new variant of its Scorpene submarine featuring Lithium-Ion battery technology...​

Fauzan Malufti 13 Oct 2023

French shipbuilder Naval Group has recently updated its Scorpene submarine proposal to Indonesia. Dubbed ‘Scorpene Evolved’, the submarine’s propulsion system will be installed with a full Lithium-Ion Batteries (LIBs) configuration, thus giving it the longest endurance of any other variant in the Scorpene family. In February 2022, the two countries already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for two locally-made Scorpene submarines.

Scorpene Evolved​


According to official sources, thanks to the full LIBs configuration, the Scorpene Evolved will have a total endurance of 80 days (with 78 of those submerged), an operational range of more than 8,000 nautical miles, a lower indiscretion rate, and maintain top speed longer. This can be achieved because LIBs can store and deliver more energy with shorter charging times than lead-acid batteries.

Full LIBs submarines are also selected because the Indonesian Navy (TNI AL) will find it easier and less expensive to maintain and operate them compared with AIP submarines which will require it to build complex offshore facilities to resupply the system since it is not possible to resupply an AIP system at sea. Extra training for submariners and other personnel who will be involved in resupplying an AIP system will also be needed.


On top of that, TNI AL must find local supply chains and companies that have the capacity and capability to provide enough ‘AIP-grade’ pure hydrogen, liquid oxygen, and/or other chemicals that an AIP system needs on time.

Even during peacetime, this could be a substantial logistical challenge especially if we consider TNI AL’s aspiration to deploy its future submarine fleet beyond the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). This means that sometimes the fleet could only rely on facilities that are available at forward bases, such as the one located on Natuna Island which borders the South China Sea. Compared to lead-acid batteries, LIBs also require much less maintenance and provide ~40% longer service life

Additionally, LIBs configuration is more consistent with the plan for Naval Group and the Indonesian state-owned shipbuilder, PT PAL, to, as part of the Scorpene deal, establish an Energy Research Lab in Indonesia with a focus on developing future submarine energy technology. If all goes well, the LIBs for the second and subsequent batches of Scorpene Evolved that Indonesia might purchase and build in the future will come from this lab. This lab could be used to develop other energy-related technologies for military and commercial markets.

Last but not least, Naval News understands that Naval Group could soon be proposing its diesel-electric submarine with LIB exclusively and stop offering them with lead-acid batteries, for all markets. That’s a direct consequence of the constant progress and the current maturity of LIB technology, an industry source familiar with the matter told us.

Indonesian Scorpene Lethality​


The Scorpene Evolved is offered with Black Shark and the more modern F21 heavy-weight torpedo, as well as a full integration of the MBDA Exocet SM39 submarine-launched cruise missile. If TNI AL chooses to purchase the F21 and SM39 later, no additional adjustments or upgrades will be required, including in terms of combat management system software. To note, since becoming a submarine operator in 1959, the Indonesian Navy has never operated missile-capable submarines, thus limiting its attack capability.

Meanwhile, since the late 1970s, TNI AL has been operating surface-launched Exocet which now become the primary anti-ship missiles in its inventory. In fact, this year, the Indonesian Navy has fired at least three Exocet MM40 Block 3 missiles in two different SINKEx in June and July.


F21 Heavy Weight Torpedoes. Naval Group picture.

Considering the idea among TNI AL planners to equip/integrate submarines with Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUV), it will be interesting to see whether the Scorpene Evolved discussion between Jakarta and Paris includes the possible procurement of the D19 multirole UUV. Developed from the F21 torpedo, the D19 can be launched and recovered from a submarine, surface vessel, or shore.


The D19 UUV on a F21 torpedo base. Naval Group picture.

Even though it has higher performance than the basic Scorpene submarine variant, the Scorpene Evolved is still offered in a full local production, integration, and testing scheme for two submarines which will take place at PT PAL’s existing submarine construction facility in Surabaya. This scheme will see 30% of the total contract value returned to Indonesia in the form of technology transfer, offsets, and the opening of thousands of high-skilled jobs.

If realized, Scorpene Evolved will position TNI AL among the growing number of navies worldwide that have started to look for LIBs solution and make Indonesia follow Japan’s decision to choose LIBs over AIP for its newest submarines (Sōryū and Taigei classes).

Fauzan Malufti story, editing by Xavier Vavasseur


PT PAL's CEO on Submarines and Frigates for Indonesia, LPD for Philippine Navy, XLUUV project​

This is inline with our effort to be Lithium-Ion battery production hub in South East Asia Region.

PT PAL submarine production facility

Naval Group CEO and Indonesia Deputy Minister of Defence met in Jakarta Today and discussed Scorpene Evolved full Lithium-Ion Batteries (LIB) "submarine procurement and construction financing"

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