Indonesia considers acquiring U.S.used-warplanes

16:39, November 11, 2010      

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The Indonesian government is now considering to procure F-16 multirole fighter jets, adding to its existing F-16 planes into one squadron.

The government initially planned to procure six brand new F-16 planes from the type of C/D, but later on the United States government offered the Indonesian government to procure 24 of such a plane. According to an Indonesian parliament member, the offer was not a grant.

Fayakhun Andriadi, legislator from Commission I for defense and foreign affairs at the parliament, said in an earlier report that the U.S. advised Indonesia to buy those 24 used planes at an affordable price.

He added that the U.S. military will refit those used planes offered to Indonesian air forces with to-date technologies and improve the airworthiness of Indonesia's existing F-16 planes.

Indonesia now operates 10 F-16 fighter jets from A/B type. If the Indonesian government accepts the United States' offer to acquire 24 of its used planes, Indonesia will have two F-16 fighter jet squadrons in its air force.

Jaleswari Pramodawardhani, a military analyst at the Indonesia Institute of Science (LIPI) recommended the government accept the U.S. offer, saying that it is more practical to buy those used planes from the U.S. if compared to purchasing brand new planes.

"It may take eight years of delivery since we placed our order to buy the brand new planes," Jaleswari was quoted by a local media on Thursday.

"To my opinion, it is ok to purchase used warplanes with sufficient technologies," Jaleswari added.

She added that Indonesia must have the United States' maintenance and service guarantee on those 24 F-16 C/D planes.

"We have to learn from the difficulties during the U.S. blockade on supplies for Indonesian military," she reminded.

U.S. unilaterally stopped its military assistance and blockaded its supply to Indonesian military following alleged rights abuses conducted by Indonesian military during the atrocities in Timor- Leste's referendum process in 1999.

Indonesia is in dire need to add more fighter jets to guard the air of its vast territory that spans between Sumatra to Papua. Its current warplanes are not enough to cover its area.

Indonesia also operates Russian fighter jets Sukhoi from the type of Su-27 and Su-30. It now has 10 of those kinds of jets, stationed in Makassar and Madiun air forces bases. Indonesia is expecting more brand new Sukhoi fighter jets from Russia.

The existence of warplanes from different producers was another issue that has to be settled by Indonesian air forces, she said.

After being severed for a decade-long period, the military ties between Indonesia and the United States resumed with the willingness of U.S. military to gradually reopen military training programs for Indonesian army officers in July this year.

Besides that, many of Indonesian planes, most of which were American-made ones, started to undergo major overhaul in U.S. aircraft firms.

Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Marty Natalegawa confirmed earlier that talks on defense cooperation between Indonesia and the United States was among agendas in bilateral talks between President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and U.S. President Barrack Obama during the latter's recent visit to Indonesia.

Consolidations conducted by military officials in both countries aimed at improving the military cooperation are underway at the moment.

Source: Xinhua


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