UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Tentara Nasional Indonesia - Angkatan Laut (TNI AL)
Indonesian Armed Forces - Sea Force

Indonesia is a large country with a large number of small islands. The Indonesian Navy is a large navy with a large number of small vessels. The second fact follows from the first.

The Indonesian Navy was established on 22 August 1945 following the Indonesian Proclamation of Independence. It was formed as the Agency of the People's Security Sea Service (Badan Keamanan Rakyat-Laut or BKR), with only wooden ships, a few landing craft and weapons left by Japan. The BKR was developed by the alumni of the Sekolah Pelayaran Tinggi (Maritime College) and the Dutch Naval Academy (Koninjklijk Institut de Marine). Following the establishment of the Indonesian Armed Forces (ABRI) on 5 October 1945, BKR became known as Angkatan Laut Republik Indonesia (ALRI). The name ALRI was used until 1970, when it was changed to Tentara Nasional Indonesia Angkatan Laut (TNI-AL).

During the period of the independence war of 1945-1949, ALRI, with a minimum of forces, was able to conduct sea expeditions to various areas out of Java to establish naval bases, marine forces, and naval training schools. Apart from establishing naval forces out of Java, the objective of the expeditions was to expand the spirit of the proclamation, and increase exposure among other countries by breaking through naval blockades to obtain weapons, ammunition and medical supplies. These naval operations succeeded in encouraging resistance against the Dutch and establishing armed forces in Bali, South Kalimantan, and South Sulawesi.

With the recognition of Indonesian sovereignty by the Dutch under the Round Table Agreement on 2 November 1949, ALRI had the opportunity to consolidate its forces as a modern navy. This was followed by the delivery of ex-Koninklijke Marine (KM) ships, including corvettes and destroyers. On 5 December 1959, ALRI established a fleet to organise, operate and increase weapon materiel. The establishment of the fleet was a milestone for the development of ALRI.

The national and global situation at the beginning of the 1980s gave new impetus to the development of TNI-AL and the promulgation of the Indonesian EEZ (Economic Exclusive Zone) brought with it new challenges and demands. The small, effective and efficient force was required to develop into a professional, effective and modern navy. In order to conduct its primary role as a naval force, TNI-AL initiated a development and management program, including the maintenance of forces through an integrated fleet weapons system (SSAT). The elements of SSAT are ships, as a basic weapon system, aircraft, the Marine Corps and naval bases. The SSAT is a combination of strategic weapons with logistic support reflecting a strong navy.

The minimum maritime capability to ensure national security is sea denial. Based on that capability, modernisation was achieved through the procurement of modern, high technology naval ships from a variety of countries, including Holland (Fatahilah class corvettes, ' Van Spijk' frigates, and Tripartite class minehunters), Yugoslavia (destroyer escort training ship KRI Kihajar Dewantara-364; Korea, 'Patrol Ship Killer-Missiles' (PSK) and Tacoma class landing ship tank), the United Kingdom (ex-Tribal class) and Germany (209 class submarine). The national shipyard, PT PAL, also produced FPB-57 class patrol boats for TNI-AL.

The Indonesian government agreed to install seven radars provided by the US in the Makassar Strait to support security efforts in the major sea lane, as of 22 January 2008 reporting. Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono stated the installation of seven radars was meant to support ASEAN maritime defense and security. He explained that the US government is committed to helping Indonesia build its capacity to secure its waters by providing the surveillance radars. He also stated that the security of the Sea Lines of Communication in the Asia and Pacific region is a matter of vital importance to its users. The US previously provided Indonesia with five surveillance radars that were set up along the Malacca Strait to support security.


Structurally, the navy comprised the headquarters staff at Jakarta under the overall command of the navy chief of staff, two fleet commands (the Eastern Fleet in Surabaya, the Western Fleet in Jakarta), the marine corps, a small air arm, and a military sealift command. The vast majority of operational ships were stationed at the main naval base at Surabaya, Jawa Timur Province. There were about 44,000 uniformed personnel serving in the navy in 1992, including about 13,000 marines. The marines were organized into two brigades, one in Jakarta and the other in Surabaya, and were equipped with light tanks, armored personnel carriers, and antiaircraft guns. Some of the marine elements were believed occasionally to be attached to KOSTRAD in operational missions.


The 1985 reorganization of the military made significant changes in the former territorial commands of the navy, which were eliminated from the structure altogether, with the service represented on the KODAM staff by a senior liaison officer. The navy territorial commands were replaced by Eastern Fleet and Western Fleet--Armadas. The Navy fleets split the Western Fleet corresponding to KODAMs I through IV and VI and with the Eastern Fleet corresponding to KODAM V and KODAMs VII through IX.

The navy has maintained a small air arm since 1958. Headquartered at Surabaya, its personnel numbered some 1,000 in the early 1990s. It was equipped primarily for naval reconnaissance and coastal patrol duties, flying three squadrons of light airplanes, as well as several transports and helicopters. Naval aviation was supplemented with Nomads (N-22) from Australia, Wasp ASW helicopters from the UK, and products of IPTN such as Cassa, Super Puma and BO-105. The Marine Corps also received amphibious vehicles from France. More recently, TNI-AL obtained 39 ex-East German naval ships. In order to enhance the capability of logistic support, maintenance and administration for the unit operation, TNI-AL established five main bases with several subordinate bases, a maintenance facility, and a naval aviation base.

Indonesian National Army (TNI) Navy added main weapon system to buy 11 anti-submarine helicopters in 2014, because two anti-submarine helicopters have already retired. "Actually, we've had since 1960 but in 1970 had retired. Purchase of helicopters to meet the target of Minimum Essential Force (MEF) and for national defense," said Deputy Chief of Naval Staff (Wakasal), Vice Admiral Marsetio at a news press with Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro in the Ministry of Defense, Jakarta, 15 August 2012. It was still discussing with the Ministry of Defence the types of helicopters, whether to bring in the type Seasprite or Agusta.

The military sealift command coordinated the navy's logistical support systems.

The Indonesian government established an independent body, the Indonesia Sea and Coast Guard (KLKP) in 2009. The establishment is based on Law No 17/2008 and aims to strengthen security in Indonesian waters. Transportation Minister Jusman Syafii Djamal said that the roles of the Indonesia Maritime Security Coordinating Board will be combined with the KLKP in the coming year. Indonesia also established a Sea Transportation Director General to better comprehend and communicate with the Indonesian military.

The naval shipyard--P.T. PAL--was turned over to the civilian government, but it, along with other facilities in Surabaya, continued to be the navy's primary training, repair, and industrial center. Since P.T. PAL's transfer to civilian control and designation as a state enterprise, it developed and implemented improvements for a management and technical upgrade of the shipyard to support the Indonesian fleet as well as to conduct commercial repairs for foreign navies. Small craft construction facilities were located at shipyards in Jakarta, Manokwari, Irian Jaya Province; Semarang, Jawa Tengah Province; and Ambon, Maluku Province.

Kopaska was formed on March 31 1962 by President Sukarno to help his campaign in Irian Jaya. In that campaign Kopaska ordered to be human torpedoes similar to Japanese 'kamikaze' troops. In doing so they rode the torpedo, guided it until hit the enemy's ship. Today, unit strength is approximately 300 men, divided into two groups. One is attached to western fleet, based on Pondok Dayung, Jakarta and the other one is attached to eastern fleet, based on Surabaya, East Java.

The early U.S. Navy Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT) and modern Navy SEAL Teams heavily influence KOPASKA. This foundation was built when early KOPASKA members were sent to the United States for training with the UDTs. American Sailors from Mobile Security Squadron (MSS) 7, Det. 72, demonstrated US Navy small boat tactics to the Indonesian Navys Kopaska Pasukan Katak (Frogman Force) 22 July 2012 as part of a series of events for MSS 7 and their counterparts prior to the Indonesia phase of exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT). The small boat tactics demonstration consisted of classroom lectures followed by hands-on demonstrations in two rigid hulled inflatable boats (RHIB). CARAT Indonesia began 21 May 2013 and continued through May 29, and consists of shore and sea phases. The shore phase features medical training, military operations symposia, U.S. 7th Fleet band concerts and joint community service projects at local schools. The sea phase integrates a variety of naval units across warfare areas. A U.S. P-3 aircraft will support combined search and rescue and anti-submarine warfare exercises, while all ships will participate in maneuvering, gunnery and missile exercises. A maritime interdiction scenario brought Visit, Board, Search and Seizure teams comprised of Sailors and the elite unit Kospaska to board Tortuga as a simulated target vessel.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 21-11-2020 18:44:01 ZULU