Indonesia seeks platforms to use 23 F-16C/D fighter jets.
Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto wrote a letter to Austrian Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner asking for negotiations to be started to purchase 15 Austrian Typhoon fighter aircraft. In his letter, released by Indonesian news sources, Prabowo said that the potential acquisition would help them to continue the process of modernizing the Indonesian Air Force.
He also said he was aware of the sensitivity of his proposal, possibly referring to the ongoing controversy over the purchase of Austria’s Typhoon fighter jets. In another letter that followed, he addressed issues related to the cost-effectiveness of the aircraft. Allegations of corruption had recently been raised about the purchase of the aircraft.
Indonesia’s interest in the fleet came two weeks after the U.S. Department of State’s statement on the Bell-Boeing MV-22 tilt-rotor platform. Indonesia is in search of platforms to serve alongside the 23 F-16C/D fighter jets it currently holds.
The decision to deal with Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft, which are primarily configured for air defense, dealt a major blow to Russia’s attempt to sell Su-35 Flanker fighter jets to Indonesia.
Indonesia chose SU-35 as the next fighter aircraft to ensure continuity with its existing Su-27 and Su-30 Flanker fleet. Although negotiations for Russian jets were completed in 2018, Indonesia remained reluctant to sign the $1.14 billion contract due to fears that it may be subject to American sanctions.
The sanctions had been adopted by Congress in 2017, under The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, “CAATSA”, which targets Iran, Russia and North Korea. CAATSA is aimed to deter governments or institutions from buying weapons or military hardware and parts from U.S. competitors.