JAKARTA — The Indonesian Air Force will buy two squadrons of F-16 fighter jets next year in a bid to step up air defense of the vast archipelagic country, Air Force Chief of Staff Yuyu Sutisna said on 29 October 2019, learned GDC quoting local media.
The additional squadrons will bring the total number of the country’s F-16 jets to 4 squadrons. Indonesia started buying the F-16 in the early 1990s, currently operates 33 F-16 aircraft.
“We will buy two squadrons of jet fighters as part of our strategic plan for 2020-2024. We’re aiming for the latest type, the Block 72 Viper,” Yuyu told Antara news agency during a visit to Riau on 29 October 2019.
The new fighter jets would be procured from Lockheed Martin, a U.S. global aerospace, defense, security and advanced technologies firm, with delivery carried out gradually from 2020 to 2024, the air force chief of staff said.
“Hopefully the plan will go ahead starting Jan. 1 next year. Purchasing that variant means we will have the most sophisticated F-16s,” Yuyu said.
Sutisna admitted that Indonesia still relied on F-16 jet fighters to safeguard the country’s airspace despite procurement of Russian Su-35.
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