Indonesia Barters Commodities for Sukhoi Su-35 Combat Jets

 - August 23, 2017, 7:31 AM
This Su-27K is the first of 16 jets in the Su-27/30 Flanker series that are already in service with the Indonesian air force. (Photo: TNI-AU)

The Indonesian air force (TNI-AU) will receive 11 Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E combat aircraft in a part-barter deal that has taken two years to negotiate. The completion of the protracted negotiations was confirmed yesterday by Indonesian trade minister Enggar Lukita. The TNI-AU already operates one squadron of Su-27/30s; the Su-35s will replace a grounded squadron of Northrop F-5E/F fighters.

The deal is worth $1.14 billion and was arranged by Russian defense agency Rostec with Indonesian trading company PT Perusahaan Perdagangan Indonesia (PPI). Indonesia will pay 50 percent of the acquisition cost ($570 million) by exporting a variety of products to Russia. Another 35 percent will be offset.

According to Enggar, Rostec has agreed to buy from PPI a combination of processed rubber and derivatives, palm oil and derivatives, machinery, coffee and derivatives, cocoa and derivatives, textiles, tea, footwear, processed fish, furniture, copra, plastics and its derivatives, resins, paper, spices, defense industry products and other products. Rostec said that it reserves the right to select the commodities and manufacturing partners in Indonesia.

Enggar also said that he hopes to persuade Russia to cease importing palm oil from any other country. In return, “I will persuade our defense minister not to look at defense equipment from other countries,” he said, according to Antara, Indonesia’s official news agency. The TNI-AU had also been evaluating a purchase of the Saab Gripen, or additional F-16s from Lockheed Martin.

The TNI-AU received its first two Su-27SKs in 2003. Subsequent deliveries were three Su-27SKMs and 11 Su-30MKs. They all serve with No. 11 squadron at Ujung Padang. The first pair were recently airlifted back to Indonesia after overhaul in Russia.

Separately, Indonesian defense minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said recently that he is also evaluating the purchase of armed UAVs. Another Indonesian defense official said that these are likely to be sourced from China, since other countries are unwilling to export them. Ryamizard said that he hopes to arrange a technology transfer deal for the UAVs, to enable their eventual production in Indonesia.