Top Indonesian and U.S. air force officials have met here for talks on bilateral defense cooperation, which may lead to the purchase of F-16 jet fighters and C-130 Hercules personnel carriers, local press said Saturday.
Indonesian Air Force chief Vice Marshal Subandrio received U.S. Under Secretary of the Air Force for International Affairs Bruce S.Lemkin for a closed-door meeting on Friday, aimed at procuring new defense equipment for Indonesia, particularly combat and personnel carrier planes.
"We'll consider purchases for the 2010-2014 period," Air Force spokesman Rear Marshall Soenaryo was quoted by English-language daily The Jakarta Post as saying.
He said the latest version of F-16 jet fighters was a necessary replacement for the Air Force's aging fleet.
He said the Air Force would be able to save maintenance fees allocated between 2008-2019 by having the new jet fighters.
Financial constraints have prevented Indonesia from modernizing its defense equipment, a condition exacerbated by a U.S. decision to put an arms sales ban on Indonesia in 1999 due to its poor human rights record.
Washington partially lifted the ban, allowing sales of personnel carrier planes to Indonesia after the 2004 tsunami that killed more than 150,000 people in Aceh and Nias.