Indonesian Air Force (TNI AU) said in Jakarta Monday that the purchase of the most sophisticated jet fighters, Sukhoi, from Russia was a breakthrough to control the Indonesian air territory.
"The purchase of Sukhoi warplanes by the government is a breakthrough, as we have not obtained any additional fund for the warplanes," said Chief of Staff of TNI AU Admiral Chappy Hakim at the Halim Perdanakusumah military airport here.
According to the admiral the counter-trade with Russia to buy the jet fighters is a solution amid lack of budget allocated for the warplanes.
"Last year, I reported that the condition of the TNI AU, which guarded the Indonesian air territory, was in the condition of pooralertness of operation. It is caused by the lack of fund as well as spare parts difficulties," he asserted.
He said that the TNI AU has studied the feasibility of buying the jet fighters since 1990.
Chappy also deplored the threat of the British government to impose on embargo of the Hawks warplanes spare parts, because the Indonesian government used the Hawks in the military offensive against the separatist rebels in Aceh recently.
When Indonesian President Megawati Soekarnoputri paid a visit to Russia in April, Indonesia signed a counter-trade agreement worth more than 190 million US dollars with Russia to obtain four jet fighters and two helicopters.
Indonesia will get two Sukhoi 27 Flankers (Su-27), two Sukhoi 30 (Su-30) Flankers and two Mi-35 helicopters from its sale of palm oil, rubber and other agricultural products.
Previously, Indonesian Armed Forces Commander General Endriartono Sutarto said that the plan to purchase the Sukhoi warplanes was a solution to overcome the US embargo on the Indonesian military.
Indonesian Minister of Trade and Industry Rini Suwandi had saidthat the counter- trade agreement was part of her ministry effort to introduce Indonesia's products to overseas.
The US government has embargoed the Indonesian military forces for alleged human rights violation in East Timor before and after the United Nation-sponsored referendum in August 1999.