Indonesia will purchase F-15EX jets from Boeing and Rafale fighter aircraft from France between 2021 and 2024, the head of its air force said on Thursday.
After years of discussions with several manufacturers, Indonesia concluded their final choice of fighter aircraft which are American iconic F-15EX and French Rafale fighter jets. A politically and diplomatically safe choice for Indonesia which caught up in bitter disputes with China in the Indo-pacific region. America provided political and military means for Indonesia to stand up against Chinese aggression in the region. Indonesia is one of the recipients of American military aids who recently received surveillance radar and drones to watch over the sky of the South China Sea.
The country will also buy C-130J transport planes and medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned combat aerial vehicles, Marshal Fajar Prasetyo, chief of staff of the Indonesian Air Force, said at the annual Air Force Leadership Meeting.
According to the meeting’s summary document, Indonesia plans to buy 36 Rafale and eight F-15EX jets, with six of the latter expected to arrive by 2022.
A Boeing spokeswoman could not confirm the planned purchase, but said “we remain confident in the F-15EX’s suitability for Indonesia, given its unmatched range, payload, and performance.”
She did confirm, however, that all future sales of new F-15s will carry the designator F-15EX. Over the past 30 years, export F-15s have borne a designator specific to the export nation; e,g., F-15SE for Saudi Arabia, F-15QA for Qatar, F-15I for Israel, etc. From now on, though, the designation will be “F-15EX across the board,” the spokeswoman said.
Along with the new additions, the air force will also modernize its existing combat aircraft this year, Prasetyo said.
He said Indonesia’s defense procurement plans have undergone several changes in view of global conditions and the country’s capacity.
“Despite having guidelines for posture, strategic plan, and Minimum Essential Force, the implementation is very dependent on various factors and conditions that keep changing dynamically,” Prasetyo said.
He explained that all stakeholders, including the Defense Ministry and the Indonesian Air Force, had analyzed and discussed plans to solve procurement issues.
“This is solely to facilitate our steps in obtaining the best defense equipment that meets operational requirements, commonality aspects, obtaining the transfer of technology, in line with the state’s capability and the condition of the Indonesian Air Force,” he said.
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