Boeing Awarded Contract To Produce 24 F-15EX Eagle II Fighter Jets For Indonesia

Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, standing on the right, witnesses the signing of a preliminary deal to purchase 24 units of F-15EX fighter jets from Boeing in the U.S. city of St. Louis on Aug. 21. (Photo courtesy of the Indonesian Defense Ministry)

Indonesia’s defense ministry and U.S. planemaker Boeing (BA.N) have signed an agreement on the sale of 24 F-15EX fighter jets to help modernize the Southeast Asian country’s aging fleet, the ministry and the company said.

Officials from the ministry and a Boeing executive signed the memorandum of understanding at Boeing’s St. Louis, Missouri, facility on Monday, Boeing said, though it underscored that the transaction was subject to U.S. government approval.

“This state-of-the-art fighter will protect and secure our nation with its advanced capabilities,” Indonesian Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto said, according to Boeing’s statement.

Boeing and the Defense Ministry did not provide details on the deal’s value.

The F-15EX is the most advanced version of the F-15, with AESA radar, digital fly-by-wire flight controls, a new electronic warfare system, a digital cockpit, modern avionics, and the latest mission systems and software capabilities, Boeing said.

Prabowo and his U.S. counterpart, Lloyd Austin, discussed the planned procurement during Austin’s visit to Jakarta last year.

Recent years have seen a number of incidents involving Indonesian and Chinese vessels in the South China Sea, including standoffs between Chinese coast guards and Indonesian navy ships. China also has protested against Indonesia’s oil and gas drilling activities in its exclusive economic zone off Natuna, and Jakarta’s naming of the waters in the area the North Natuna Sea. China has said the waters are part of its traditional fishing grounds.

The regional tensions have added urgency to Jakarta’s plans to bolster its defense capabilities, with the government’s program to modernize the country’s aging military equipment and weaponry — declared more than a decade ago — progressing slowly.

The F-15EX agreement follows similar deals signed by Indonesia for Rafale and Mirage fighter jets, both manufactured by French company Dassault Aviation.

The ministry has not disclosed the value of the agreement. Subianto previously said Boeing had approved financial terms offered by Indonesia, adding he believed it would be an “affordable” purchase.

Last year, Jakarta bought 42 Dassault (AM.PA) Rafale fighter jets for $8.1 billion.

It has also purchased 12 used Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets in an $800 million deal that drew criticism as the aircraft was considered too old.

Last year, the U.S. also approved the potential sale of F-15ID aircraft and related equipment to Indonesia in a deal valued at up to $13.9 billion.

“After Rafale, the F-15 will make Indonesia a strong nation as we keep building a mature defense diplomacy,” the defense ministry spokesperson said.

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