KRI KLEWANG: Fire Safety of Naval Vessels made of Composite Materials

KRI KLEWANG: Fire Safety of Naval Vessels made of Composite Materials

A new stealth trimaran dramatically sank in Selat Bali - less than a month after being launched.

All that could be seen of the super-sleek 63 m stealth ship was burning hulk sticking out of the water after it went down. KRI Klewang, a X3K Trimaran.

I dont see the need to post the burning hulk, that being said. The hot question to be ask: Why is it burning?

The behaviour of structures composed of composite materials in fire is quite different from the behaviour of those composed of steel. Does TNI AL and particularly LUDIN take any effective measures that can be implemented to control the risks? 

American Naval Firefighter among the best in the world.


"Unlike steel, composites burn and are therefore unsuitablefor construction of warship structures"

This is not true. A composite ship do burn, but so can a steel ship. Ship are not 100 % made of steel, there are twocubictonnes of combustible materials present inside a steel ship.

Normal way to deal with fire hazards in steel structures is to define fire zones, the boundaries of which are certain area are protected using various firefighting method, passive and active.

Steel ship can burn especially if its a weapon-induced fires. Picture from a russian ship
First we must assumed that the vessel is expected to survive weapon-induced fires and designed accordingly.. DOES KRI KLEWANG DESIGNED ACCORDINGLY? Is there a proper implementation of composites burn hazzards procedures? Does the crew or the naval base fire fighters trained accordingly in this situation?

Characteristics of Composite Structures :
  • composite systems  must be provided with a surface liner.
  • does not conduct heat away from fire
  • Looses strength at relatively low temperatures

I am not an expert in this, my co writer ikansadinmknorang are much more knowledgeable since this is his area of expertise, but he is somewhere near America Latin with his ship.. so we can only read his input later.

Anyway this my summary base on Dag McGeorge and  Bjørn Høyning studies and probably TNI AL can learn from this mistake.
  • Design Flaw in passive measures: The lack of structural fire reaction and fire resistance 
  • No Active measures:No manual and automatic implemented or installed or activated
  • Combustible items in area of fire from the contractors working on the ship. Things such as paints, rubbish or chemical needed for the paint works.
  • Damage to structure due to the intensity of the fire.
  • Lack of ship emergency firefighting training , among the crew (if any) or the naval base own firefighting unit. Most probably because they were trained in fighting fire on boards steel ships and not composite ship.


Information from this articles are referred from : Fire Safety of Naval Vessels made of Composite Materials: Fire Safety Philosophies, Ongoing Research and State-of-the-Art Passive Fire Protection by Dag McGeorge and  Bjørn Høyning


  1. for military equipment please visit

  2. Kaya betul jiran kita nie.... Negara kita buat tukun untuk ikan kat tengah laut pakai konkrit je tp diorang guna composit... Hebat2...

    1. hehe,. iye ke?,, indo memang kaya la... hahaha.. salam nusantara indonesia gua!..


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