Indonesia Shopping for Western Fighters  

09 Februari 2018

Lockheed Martin is pitching its F-16V to Indonesia, emphasizing “numerous enhancements designed to keep the F-16 at the forefront of international security.” (photo : Lockheed Martin)

Indonesia is in talks with Western manufacturers about a possible fighter order and is considering the Eurofighter Typhoon and Lockheed Martin F-16V, according to two industry sources in the country.

The Saab Gripen and Dassault Rafale are also likely to be candidates, since the manufacturers of both of those fighters have offices in Jakarta. The number of fighters under consideration is not known, but some multiple of 16, the usual size of an Indonesian fighter squadron, is likely.

Talks began last year, says one industry source, who named the Typhoon as one candidate among several.

Budgetary pressures may force Indonesian withdrawal from the Korea Aerospace Industries KF-X fighter program, depriving KAI of the endorsement of a second operator. If Indonesia does not quit the KF-X entirely, it may take a smaller role.

The Indonesian Air Force likes the F-16, because it already operates that type, says another industry source. Both sources are closely connected to the military.

Meanwhile, Indonesia has taken delivery of the last two of 24 refurbished F-16C/Ds ordered in 2012. The Indonesian Air Force now has 23 of the aircraft, which it calls F-16IDs.

Eurofighter Typhoon (photo : Zuhour Mahmoud)

Going forward, Lockheed Martin has proposed the F-16V version of its fighter with the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 engine, says the second source. Since the Indonesian Air Force’s current 32 F-16s have similar engines in the F100-PW-200 series, Lockheed Martin’s propulsion proposal would reduce training and logistics costs.

Lockheed Martin says that current aircraft could be upgraded to the V standard with the installation of new radars and avionics.

Missiles, bombs and targeting pods purchased for the current F-16 fleet would also be compatible on the newer variant, again reducing procurement costs, the company has told Indonesian officials. Some of the F-16A/Bs may not be operational.

The Indonesian air force is supposed to have 180 fighter jets in 2024 under a plan introduced in 2007 called Minimum Essential Force, but little progress has been made toward that target. It has 48 now and plans to order 11 more Sukhoi Su-35s.

The Su-35 has the advantage that the Indonesian armed forces, stung by a U.S. arms embargo two decades ago, insist on sourcing some fighters from non-Western suppliers. Western manufacturers kept marketing their fighters in Indonesia; they were looking to the next order.

They have had a presence in Indonesia since 2014.

(Aviation Week)


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