KRI Banda Aceh 593 of the Indonesian Navy participated in the rescue operation of Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 accident in late 2014.
As a nation of thousands of islands, the navy plays an important role in protecting Indonesia’s territorial integrity and security. The Indonesian naval history began on September 10, 1945 and until now the Indonesian navy has grown into a major naval force in the region. Due to its maritime status, Indonesia places great emphasis on the development of patrol fleets, amphibious ships and the domestic naval shipbuilding industry. In addition to ensuring maritime security and territorial security, Indonesian warships also actively contribute to humanitarian and rescue operations, KRI Banda Aceh with 593 hulls as one of them.
KRI Banda Aceh is one of the five Indonesian Navy’s Makassar Landing Platform Dock. The ship was built under Korean license at Indonesia’s PT PAL shipyard in Surabaya with assistance from Daesun. Officially commissioned in March 2011, Banda Aceh and her sisters are primarily deployed by amphibious forces to transport military equipment, goods and vehicles. The ship also has extensive experience in humanitarian operations and natural disaster management.
KRI Banda Aceh has a length of 125m, beam of 22m and draft of 4.9m, her full displacement up to 11,400 tons. By design, the ship used a double bottom structure in combination with semi-stealth technology. The ship serves as the flagship of the Indonesian Navy, therefor, the ship is equipped with state-of-the-art command and control systems, along with a communication system to operate in the warship group.
As an Landing Helicopter Dock, KRI Banda Aceh has a helipad layout with landing points in the stern area. She also has a hangar to support the operations of light and medium helicopters such as Mil Mi-2, Eurocopter Super Puma and Bell 412. In total the ship can carry up to 5 helicopters for the amphibious assaults as well as humanitarian operations.
The Landing Platform Dock was designed to fulfill the Navy’s operational tasks, including Landing Craft Carrier, landing troops and Combat Vehicles. Specifically, the ship can carry a total of 35 vehicles such as troop carriers, tanks and other tactical vehicles. There is enough space for up to 507 people including 126 crew members, 354 fully armed soldiers as well as officers and aviation personnel. The ship is equipped with emergency hospital equipment and can be used for first aid. Onboard stores allow the Banda Aceh to remain at-sea for up to 45 days. This gives her the capability to prove just as useful in a humanitarian role and disaster relief. The ship can also house two 23m Landing Craft, Vehicle and Personnel in a small well deck for landing the troops on shore.
For self-defense, KRI Banda Aceh is equipped with two MBDA Mistral Simbad launchers for Mistral surface-to-air missiles. The main gun is a 40mm Bofors autocannon and two 20mm Oerlikon cannons, along with the CIC Fire Control System. It can be seen that the ship’s air defense capability is quite limited, so it is forced to rely on the escorts and the accompanying aircraft for comprehensive defense.
The propulsion system is a combined diesel and diesel engine, which consists of two MAN B&W 8L28 / 32A diesel engines, driving 2 shafts, providing 2,666 horsepower each. The ship is equipped with a bow thruster for better maneuverability. KRI Banda Aceh can reach a maximum speed of 16 knots and a range of 10,000 nauticalmiles.
Since it’s official commissioning, KRI Banda Aceh has actively participated in military and humanitarian activities. At the end of 2014, the world witnessed an aviation disaster when AirAsia’s Airbus 320 crashed in Java sea with 162 passengers. And also once again the multinational rescue and search forces have teamed up together in an attempt to find the wreck of the plane and the bodies of the ill-fated victims. Immediately after the plane was confirmed to be missing, the Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency deployed seven ships and two helicopters to search the shores of Belitung and Kalimantan. KRI Banda Aceh has actively contributed to the search for the victims and the plane. In the near future, KRI Banda Aceh will undoubtedly continue to play an important role in Indonesia’s maritime operations.