CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand — Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri announced March 28 it signed a contract to provide the Indonesian Navy with two 4,900-ton PPA ships, although the government has not yet funded the purchase.

The contract, which is worth €1.2 billion (U.S. $1.3 billion), will see two PPA multipurpose offshore patrol vessels originally destined for the Italian Navy allocated to Indonesia instead.

A Fincantieri news release stated the two 143-meter-long ships “are currently under construction and fitting at the integrated shipyard in Riva Trigoso-Muggiano.”

Defense News reported in October that Italy was in talks with Indonesia over this sale. At the time, Junior Defense Minister Matteo Perego di Cremnago said: “It is not clear which of the vessels would go to Indonesia; that depends on when a contract is signed.”

“This contract is a milestone for the development of a strategic partnership between our group and Indonesia,” Fincantieri CEO Pierroberto Folgiero said, adding this would be the “first of many significant collaborative opportunities” with Indonesia.

Fincantieri said it is the prime contractor and will “coordinate [with] other industrial partners, including Leonardo, for the customization of the ships’ combat system and the provision of related logistic services.”

However, under Indonesia’s procurement process, the signing of this contract does not constitute a final purchase agreement. Indeed, the shipbuilder noted this contract “is subject to the necessary authorizations from the competent authorities.”

Fincantieri announced in June 2021 that it had won an Indonesian contract for six 6,600-ton FREMM-class frigates and two secondhand Maestrale-class frigates. Discussions for the ships are ongoing, but there is not yet a financed deal for the FREMMs.

The Italian Navy’s PPA vessel Francesco Morosini toured Southeast Asia last year, including stops in Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. The shipbuilder said Jakarta’s interest stemmed from this campaign.

The Italian Navy has ordered seven PPA vessels in three configurations: light; light plus; and full. The light plus variant adds an anti-air warfare capability, while the full version includes an ability to prosecute anti-submarine missions, too.

The platform features a naval cockpit, situated within a diamond-shaped bridge, to reduce bridge crewing.

The service has received three PPAs, and the shipyard has launched a further three.

The final two are slated for commissioning in August 2025 and August 2026, respectively.

With the two offshore patrol vessels under construction in Italy, there will be minimal opportunities for Indonesia’s state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL to participate in the program. However, the firm is currently building two 6,540-ton Iver Huitfeldt-class frigates for the Indonesian Navy under a $720 million contract signed in May 2021. These use Babcock International’s Arrowhead 140 design.

Gordon Arthur is an Asia correspondent for Defense News. After a 20-year stint working in Hong Kong, he now resides in New Zealand. He has attended military exercises and defense exhibitions in about 20 countries around the Asia-Pacific region.

More In Naval