Indonesia finally cancel Su-35, seek F-35 from the US

Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II (Photo Courtesy Lockheed Martin)

Bloomberg is reporting that Indonesia dropped the purchase of 11 Sukhoi Su-35 fighters after pressure from the US.

An anonymous Indonesian foreign ministry official told Bloomberg that Washington warned Jakarta that buying the Russian fighters will risk the South East Asian country being penalized under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

The US offered the F-16V Block 70/72 to Indonesia in return but Jakarta is more keen on buying the F-35 instead.

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As we have previously reported, Indonesia planned to purchase 11 Sukhoi Su-35 jets in exchange for Russia buying goods such as rubber, crude palm oil, coffee, tea, furniture and spices under a barter deal announced in August 2017.

“The barter deal, which is under the supervision of the two governments, will involve 11 Sukhoi Su-35 jet fighters and several commodities like coffee, palm oil, tea and others,” Indonesia’s Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said in a statement on Aug. 4, 2017.

Russia still faces economic sanctions imposed by the US and the European Union. Russia has limited imports from the US and European Union too and is looking for other countries for commodity imports.

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“It is an opportunity we have to seize. The great potential for economic cooperation during the embargo and counter embargo goes beyond trade and investment issues. We also have the opportunity to enhance cooperation in tourism, student exchange, energy, technology, aviation, etc.,” Enggartiasto then said.

The agreement was eventually signed by former Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu in February 2018, but cancelled on March 2020.

Indonesia then wanted the Su-35 to replace Tentara Nasional Indonesia Angkatan Udara (TNI-AU, Indonesian Air Force) aging F-5E Tiger II fleet.

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