Indonesian Air Force Modernization - Fighter
The Indonesian Air Force finally confirmed that it will buy 4.5 generation fighter aircraft, namely the Dassault Rafale made in France and the F-15 EX made in the United States. "We want a generation 4.5 aircraft and want a 'heavy' or medium and above. Because we currently have the F-16, we already have Sukhoi made in Russia," said Air Force Chief of Staff (KSAU) Marshal TNI Fadjar Prasetyo as quoted by Antara, 22 December 2021. "This is a little information, the F-15 EX team has come to me. I asked if today we agreed on the first initial unit we will receive about when? The answer is yes, around 2027," said Marshal Fadjar. Regarding the planned purchase of the Sukhoi Su-35, Fadjar said it would be abandoned.
Foreign media said that Indonesia 's move to pair the French Rafale and the US F-15 EX was part of an effort to prevent the rise of China. " Indonesia intends to align two models of fighter aircraft (F-15 and Rafale) to guard against the rise of Chinese power in the region (North Natuna)," reported avionslegendaires.net.
The F-15 Eagle II and Rafale themselves have maritime strike capabilities, making it easier for Indonesia to crush Chinese warships in Natuna. "The Indonesian Air Force is now talking about buying between twelve and eighteen aircraft. These planes will allow the Indonesian Air Force to quickly replace the two fighter models it has in small numbers: ten General Dynamics F-16A/B Fighting Falcons. and five Sukhoi Su-27SKM Flankers," reported avionlegendaires.net as quoted by Zonajakarta.com. "The Indonesian Air Force also announced that it has launched talks with Boeing around the acquisition of ten to twelve units of the new F-15EX Eagle II air superiority fighter , which is currently in the testing phase with the US Air Force," said avionlegendaires.net.
Indonesia’s impulsive attempts to purchase jet fighters gained attention when Indonesian Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto approached his Austrian counterpart to express his interest to acquire the latter’s 15 Eurofighter Typhoons. Critics found the decision puzzling, and it is seen at odds with the government’s commitment to avoid purchasing second-hand weaponry. Members of parliament, meanwhile, have said that they have not been consulted about the policy.
When Indonesia could not get spare parts for its F-16 fighter squadrons, which were acquired when the U.S. still supported Indonesia against the Communists, Russia offered their Sukhoi Su-30Ki to replace the F-16s in the Indonesian inventory. Despite the acquisition and training costs associated with transitioning to a new aircraft, the TNI had to accept the change in order to maintain an operational air force.
Indonesian Armed Forces Commander Air Marshal Djoko Suyanto said in 2007 that the country needed at least one squadron equipped with 16 Sukhoi fighters to replace part of the outdated fleet of US F-16 fighters. Under a $300 million contract, signed in 2007, Russia was to supply three Su-30MK2 and three Su-27SKM fighters to Jakarta. Under the contract, two Su-27SK jets must be delivered by the end of 2009. One more fighter was delivered in 2010. Russia delivered the last of six contracted Su fighter jets to Indonesia in 2010. On 17 September 2010 Indonesia's Air Force chief of staff Marshal Imam Sufaat said his country planned to buy six more Sukhoi fighter jets from Russia. He said the purchase would be on the Defense Ministry's long-term agenda, but was not sure when the plan would be implemented. "The existing squadron of Sukhois remains insufficient to give a deterrent effect given our vast territory," Imam told the Antara news agency.
Defense Minister Purnomo stated in 2010 that Indonesia would be interested in buying up to 180 Sukhoi fighters, a somewhat unfeasible number given the fact that it took almost a decade for Indonesia to procure the ten Sukhoi fighters it currently operated.
Asian Military Review reported in 2012 that "Indonesia is targeting some 180 combat aircraft by 2024 as its MEF goal though it is unlikely that such a number will be reached though Indonesia has initiated efforts that will allow it to reach half that target number." However, a review of projected combat aircraft acquisition plans suggest that it might be a close call, with a total of 150 combat aircraft plausibly in service by 2025.
In July 2010 Pakistan Defense Minister Chaudhary Ahmed Mukhtar offered his Indonesian counterpart the latest jet fighter called the JF-17 during his visit to Jakarta. Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro responded to the offer, saying that further discussion would be conducted in October. “We will see it first before we decide if we have an interest in purchasing the aircraft,” Purnomo said.
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