Indonesia abandons plans to acquire Russian fighters – Defense Security Monitor


Indonesian National Defense-Air Force (TNI-AU) gave up on acquiring Russian fighter jets. Instead, the service will focus on two western alternatives, the Boeing F-15EX Eagle II and the French Dassault Rafale.

TNI-AU continues to plan and execute a long-term strategy to modernize its fighter fleet by improving existing assets and expanding capabilities, an effort that dates back to the first phase of the Minimum Essential Force (MEF) program. undertaken from 2009 to 2014..

According to the TNI-AU MEF guide, the Air Force is due to deploy 180 fighter jets by 2024, but it remains far from that figure and this target is highly unlikely to be achieved. Instead, the Defense Ministry’s more attainable (but still unlikely) short-term goal is to acquire 100 new fighters, allowing TNI-AU to exploit a total of 170 fighters by 2024. -2025 approximately.

Since the service already operates fighters designed and manufactured in Russia, one of the goals of the Air Force was the acquisition of modern Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E. The Indonesian Air Force has operated a mixed fleet of Sukhoi Su-27 and Su-30 since 2003, when Indonesia turned to Russia for new fighter jets in exchange for local palm oil and other commodities.

Yet despite the February 14, 2018 announcement of an agreement to purchase the 11 Su-35s at a cost of $ 1.14 billion as part of a cash and commodity deal (articles such as palm oil, coffee, tea and rubber were offered by Indonesia), a firm contract proved elusive. This was in large part due to Indonesian concerns over US Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) legislation regarding defense and / or intelligence-related transactions with Russia.

Indonesia – which prefers to diversify its defense supply sources – has continued to hesitate to announce that this potential deal is dead, instead of letting it quietly collapse. The dropping of the supply only became official when Air Chief Marshal Fadjar Prasetyo admitted at a press meeting on December 22 that it had been scrapped.

Instead, Indonesia will now turn to strengthening its combat capability by acquiring an existing French or American platform, while continuing to participate in the development of the Korean Fighter Xperiment (KF- X), for which it has a 20 percent cost-sharing contribution in place. Indonesia intends to purchase 50 of these devices, enough to equip three Indonesian TNI-AU fighter squadrons of 16 to 22 devices each.


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