A visit to Lockheed Martin’s plant in Marietta, Georgia, by Indonesia’s Air Force Chief of Staff, Air Chief Marshal Fadjar Prasetyo, on September 7 resulted in confirmation that the country's air force has ordered the C-130J Super Hercules, the latest version of the perennial transport. The number of aircraft now on order has not been formally revealed but is believed to be five.
As the aircraft were ordered as a direct commercial sale, the purchase had previously gone unpublicized. The Indonesian air force (TNI-AU) is understood to have selected the stretched C-130J-30 in 2018, and it is thought to have placed an order in the following year. During the air chief’s visit to Marietta, he was photographed alongside a flight deck section of the first C-130J-30 for the TNI-AU, indicating that the initial aircraft could be handed over sometime next year, although no delivery schedule has been announced.
An official TNI-AU release following the visit stated that Prasetyo is optimistic that the C-130J will significantly improve the capabilities of the air force. “By obtaining an aircraft with modern engines, technology and avionics systems, it is a big step for the Indonesian air force to adapt its air transport operations doctrine,” he added.
Indonesia has had a long association with the Hercules, having acquired its first batch of C-130Bs in 1960/61. Further C-130Bs—including two modified to KC-130B tanker status—arrived in the second half of the 1970s, followed by C-130H/H-30s from 1980. From 1981 the TNI-AU operated a single C-130H-MP dedicated maritime patrol version, although it was lost in a crash in 1985.
Subsequently, the fleet has been bolstered by the acquisition of commercial L-100-30 Hercules from Pelita Air Service, and second-hand C-130Hs from Australia made surplus by the delivery of C-130Js to the RAAF. The current TNI-AU fleet is operated by Skadron Udara 31 at Jakarta, Skadron Udara 32 at Malang, and Skadron Udara 33 at Ujung Pandung. The Malang-based squadron continues to operate four C-130Bs and the single surviving KC-130B, with the aircraft having undergone a local refurbishment program.