Indonesia ordered first batch of Harimau medium tanks

On April 12, 2019, Indonesian Defense Minister Ramisard Ryakuda signed a large package of contracts with enterprises of the Indonesian defense industry in Bandung, the most significant of which was the order for the Indonesian shipbuilding association PT PAL to build three more diesel-electric submarines in cooperation with South Korean corporation Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME). Another significant contract was the order for the Indonesian state defense industry association PT Pindad to build the first batch of the Harimau ("Tiger") serial Turkish-Indonesian production for the Indonesian army.

Indonesian Ministry of Defense ordered first batch of Harimau light tanks
Harimau Modern Medium Weight Tank (MMWT), called Kaplan MT by its original designer FNSS (Picture source )

The cost of the contract for the Harimau tanks was $ 135 million. The number of vehicles ordered was not officially disclosed, but, according to the head of the defense division PT Pindad Vijayanto, is 18-20 tanks (the final number must also be determined depending on the cost of equipment). PT Pindad of the Indonesian Army should be supplied within three years.

FNSS of Turkey and PT Pindad of Indonesia launched the development of the Modern Medium Weight Tank (MMWT) project called Kaplan MT (Medium Tank) to respond to a request from the Indonesian army for a new 3-man medium tank. The vehicle is fully operable in a wide range of altitudes, humidity levels and temperatures (-18°C/+55°C). The joint development of this medium weight tank design includes advanced ballistic and mine protection systems with a wide range of firepower, from close support of infantry to anti-armor. Turkey and Indonesia initiated the project in 2014. FNSS and PT Pindad are the prime contractors of the project, whose intellectual property rights will be owned by the two countries. FNSS-PT Pindad Joint Development Medium Weight Tank comprises a state-of-the-art modern technology platform with superior firepower supported with battlefield management and laser warning systems, providing tactical awareness to the commander.

The concept design of the MMWT was completed and unveiled during IndoDefense 2016, International Tri-Service Defence Expo & Forum in November 2016 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The first prototype of the Kaplan MMWT (Modern Medium Weight Tank) was unveiled in May 2017 during IDEF, the International Defense Industry Fair in Turkey. In August 2018, the Indonesian Company PT Pindad announced final firing tests with the Kaplan to control all the functions of the 105mm CT-CV turret system, designed and developed by the Belgian Company CMI Defence. The gun is equipped with an automatic drum-type loader for 12 rounds, another 30 rounds are placed in the tank hull. The turret and gun are electrically driven. The gun is capable of firing standard NATO 105mm tank ammunition.

In September 2018, according to the Indonesian Company PT Pindad, Philippines and Bangladesh showed a serious interest to acquire the Kaplan. The two countries could purchase 40 to 50 units from Kaplan MT. At IndoDefence 2018, FNSS representative announced that Brunei had also expressed interest to purchase the Kaplan. For Indonesia, the Kaplan was nicknamed Harimau (Tiger). The vehicle was dynamically demonstrated for the first time to the public in Indonesia at IndoDefence 2018.

Both armored hulls with prototype tracked undercarriages were made in Turkey, and the Indonesian PT Pindad only assembled the second prototype. By agreement with CMI Defense in 2014, PT Pindad organizes licensed production of the Cockerill 3000 series tower in CSE 90LP variants with a 90-mm cannon (to equip Badak armored vehicles with 6x6 wheel arrangement) and CMI-3105HP with a 105-mm cannon (to equip a tank Harimau and Pandur II armored vehicles with a wheeled 8x8 chassis). On the prototypes of the tank, the 711hp Caterpillar C13 diesel engine, coupled to an Allison/Caterpillar X300 automatic transmission.

So far, the tank is only assembled in Indonesia. The Indonesian armed forces plan to initially acquire 44 Harimau tanks in a first stage, then a total of 400 units.