Indonesian Air Force Wants More Fighters and C-130Js

 - June 20, 2018, 5:58 AM
An Indonesian C-130H transport (Photo: Chris Pocock)

The Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) plans to have eight fighter squadrons and six refreshed transport squadrons by 2024. The Indonesian news agency Antara reported this ambitious plan after the TNI-AU Chief of Staff, Air Marshal Yuyu Sutisna, recently addressed cadets from the Air Force Command School in Jakarta.

Sutisna said that each squadron would have 16 aircraft, with a reliability rate of around 80 percent. Currently, TNI-AU has six active fighter squadrons, ranging from the BAE Hawk 209/109 to the Sukhoi Su-30. It has also ordered 11 Sukhoi Su-35s, with the first pair to be delivered this August. The TNI-AU has six transport squadrons, with a mixed fleet of Lockheed C-130B/Hs, CASA CN235/295s, and IPTN CN212s.

Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu also revealed to the media that his ministry wants to buy five Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules. This follows his meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis in Hawaii in late May. Indonesian media added that Sutisna had visited the C-130J production plant and flown the simulator in April this year. TNI-AU has admitted that it wants to replace its C-130B/H fleet. It has lost five Hercules since 2000.

It is not clear whether negotiations with the U.S. have yet commenced and what terms would apply to this purchase: Direct Commercial Sale or Foreign Military Sales. Arms procurement in Indonesia can be a complicated and lengthy affair, sometimes with a state-owned company coming into the process as project manager, as seen in the recent discussions about the possible purchase of Airbus A400M airlifters.