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Republic of Indonesia - Army Modernization

Indonesia is working to expand and modernize its armed forces towards the goal of reaching a Minimum Essential Force (MEF) in 2024. But just what constitutes this Minimum Essential Force has not been clearly defined. Presidential Directive No.7 of 2008 which established the MEF concept, defined it as, “a force level that can guarantee the attainment of immediate strategic defense interests, where the procurement priority is given to the improvement of minimum defence strength and/or the replacement of outdated main weapon systems/equipments.”

Until 2012, Indonesia’s modernisation efforts were focused on the Navy and Air Force with only minimal purchases for the Army. A total of 158 of the indigenously developed and produced Anoa 6×6 were ordered in 2008, of which 120 had been delivered by 2012 and an additional 31 ordered in 2012. An order for 22 K-21 IFVs from South Korea was placed in 2010.

In May 2012, Indonesia bought 37 Russian BMP-3F infantry combat floating vehicles for US$ 114 million. Rosoboronexport, part of the Russian Technologies State Corporation, is the sole state intermediary agency responsible for importing and exporting defense and dual-use products, technologies and services. The arms corporation cooperates with more than 70 countries.

In late 2011, Indonesia moved to acquire a Main Battle Tank capability. Indonesia expressed an interest in buying the tanks from the Dutch army, which is selling the Leopards as the result of major budget cuts. The defence ministry investigated the possibility of a deal with Indonesia, but Green Left MP Arjan El Fassed said in parliament that selling tanks to an army which had repeatedly been implicated in human rights violations was out of the question.

Indonesia has given the Netherlands a deadline to decide whether or not to sell its surplus Leopard main battle tanks (MBTs) after which Indonesia will look for other sources, a top defense official said Tuesday. Indonesia Defense Deputy Minister Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin said the ministry had given the Dutch until the end of March 2012 before deciding to buy the MBTs from other countries. “We can buy the tanks directly from Germany, although the quantity might be different,” he told reporters at the Defense Ministry after a press conference on the results of a meeting of the Defence Industry Policy Committee (KKIP).

A majority in the Netherlands parliament opposed the sale. The June 2012 debate in parliament showed that a majority remained opposed to the sale of 80 Dutch Leopard tanks to Indonesia. The Labour Party, Socialist Party, the Freedom Party, the Green Left party and the Christian Union reiterated their opposition to the intended sale because of human rights violations in Indonesia. The defense ministry needed to sell the tanks because its budget has been cut by one billion euros. The ministry wanted to use the proceeds, estimated at about 200 million euros, to buy drones.

In July 2012 Indonesia confirmed that it would buy 100 German Leopard tanks. The Germans gave assurance that the delivery of the targeted volume and of the necessary military equipment would be met on time. The purchase of these tanks was part of a strategy of the Government for a five-years plan to modernize Indonesia’s military equipment, in the 2010-2014 period. A total of 103 Leopard 2s [also reported as 119 and 150], 50 Marder IFVs and 10 support vehicles are being purchased with an initial delivery of 44 Leopards and Marders in November 2012.

The total budget of the purchase amounted to US$ 280 million. This budget fell outside of the allocation of foreign loans through the blue book and green book from Bappenas and the Ministry of Finance. In relation to the financing of the US$ 280 it is up to the Ministry of Finance to determine which institution has the legal stability and the capacity to disburse the amount. According to him, it could be carried out by a syndicate of banks in the country or the Ministry of Finance could formulate a financing scheme which it would also manage. The funding would continue to be determined in a parallel process, as soon as certainty is gained on aspects of procurement and financing.

Indonesia`s Deputy Minister of Defense Lieutenant-General (LG) (Rtd) Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin denied that the procurement of Leopard tanks was related to demands made by West Papuans. Previously, West Papuans had considered that such a purchase of tanks from the Netherlands would be a betrayal. Sjafrie added that the framework would be implemented by a high level committee. Many human rights NGOs and the families of victims of major human rights violations argued Lt. Gen. Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin had played a role in in the past issue. Starting from October 2012, the inflowing shipment of tanks units will consecutively be accompanied by technology transfer by PT Pindad.

Also ongoing was a modernisation program of Indonesia’s AMX-13 light tank. PT Pindad of Indonesia was awarded a contract in September 2011 to carry out work on 12 tanks as an initial beginning with additional tanks to be upgraded subsequently. No details of the modernisation has been revealed but pictures on the internet reveal an upgunning to a 105mm gun for the tank. Indonesia had around 275 AMX-13s in its inventory though the actual number operational at that time was likely half that number.

In addition, it was revealed in September 2012 that Indonesia had ordered 37 Caesar 155mm artillery systems from France. This reported was followed in October 2012 by news that Indonesia had ordered 45 Astros II MLRS systems from Brazil, providing a significant boost to the Army’s heavy artillery capabilities.

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified the US Congress 15 November 2012 of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Indonesia for 180 Block I Javelin Missiles and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $60 million. The Government of Indonesia has requested a possible purchase of 180 Block I Javelin Missiles, 25 Command Launch Units (CLU), Missile Simulation Rounds (MSR), Battery Coolant Units (BCU), Enhanced Basic Skills Trainer, Weapon Effects Simulator, batteries, battery chargers, support equipment, spare and repair parts, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical data, U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance and other related logistics support.

According to DOD, this proposed sale "will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country which has been, and continues to be, an important force for the political stability and economic progress in Southeast Asia. The proposed sale provides Indonesia with assets vital to protect its sovereign territory and deter potential threats. The acquisition of the Javelin system is part of the Indonesia Army’s overall military modernization program. The proposed sale will foster continued cooperation between the U.S. and Indonesia, making Indonesia a more valuable regional partner in an important area of the world."

South Korea's Doosan DST announced in May 2013 the completion of production of an armored combat vehicle for the Indonesian Army. Doosan DST does not list this vehicle as part of its portfolio, although possibly it was once under consideration for the South Korean Army requirement for a wheeled APC [or possibly not, since it has a distinctive wheel spacing not noted in Doosan's other offerings, but seen in Hyundai Rotem's KW1 6x6]. The 6X6 carries a crew of three, weighs 18 tons, has a maximum land speed of about 60 mph and a speed of nearly 5 mph in water. Armaments include a 90mm gun and a 7.62mm machine gun. The vehicle has been named the Tarantula by the Indonesians.

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