The Bung Tomo-class corvette, equipped with advanced underwater sonar capabilities — the Thales Underwater Systems TMS 4130C1 hull-mounted sonar - was deployed by Jarkarta yesterday to join in the multinational effort for the search and recovery of the black box of AirAsia QZ8501.
More than 150 Hull-Mounted Sonars have been sold by Thales Underwater Systems, and adopted by the South African Navy (Meko A200 class), Indonesian Navy (Sigma class)
Royal Moroccan Navy (Sigma class) and United Arab Emirates Navy (Abu Dhabi class).
KRI Usman Harun was originally one of three Nakhoda Ragam-class corvettes built for the Royal Brunei Navy, a variant of the F2000 design, that have been sitting in BAE Systems Marine yard at Scotstoun, Glasgow, since 2007 after Brunei refused to accept the vessels over operating costs and a lack of sufficiently trained personnel to operate the ships. After BAE successfully took them to court, the vessels remained in Glasgow while Brunei looked for a buyer. In November 2012, it was announced that Indonesia acquired the vessels for one-fifth of the original unit cost. Sister ship KRI Bung Tomo, named after Sutomo, the leader of Indonesian guerilla during the Battle of Surabaya, has been involved in the search and recovery operations since late December 2014.
Instead of diving into the Java Sea, the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) waded into the depths of the dictionary to come up with something to wash the pie off Ng's muddied face. The best they could do is this:
“Singapore offered its help for this humanitarian effort arising from a tragic accident of AirAsia flight QZ8501 which has befallen our Indonesian neighbour. We offer our deepest condolences to the bereaved families of the passengers and crew. The Singapore Armed Forces will continue to assist in this search effort professionally.”
Meanwhile, RSS Valour has returned to Tuas Naval Base after only 8 days on site, with RSS Supreme following suit for "replenishment". Why they could not take on bunker, fresh water and virtuals at a port closer to the area of operations is anyone's guess.