Indonesia and China are set to begin a partnership in military arms production, in addition to the joint-production agreement Indonesia has with South Korea on jet fighters.
Indonesian deputy defense minister Lt. Gen. Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin and China’s director of the State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, Chen Quifa, inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at the ministry on Tuesday as a legal base for the partnership.
“The MoU stipulates joint military procurement by both countries in a government-to-government plan and a technological transfer when certain types of weapons are produced, as well as joint-development and joint-marketing of certain types of military systems,” Defense Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. I Wayan Midhio told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
“For example, if we want to produce a certain type of weapon in Indonesia, [China] will have to transfer the technology for the production of that weapon.”
However, he said the two countries had yet to determine the cost or proportional shares in the project, as well as an arrangement of intellectual property rights. “[The technical bodies] will further discuss details of the project,” Wayan said.
Indonesia, he said, was determined to jointly procure C-907 missiles in particular because the country had already bought the Chinese product in 2009-2010.
C-907 missiles are part of the weaponry of Sukhoi jet fighters. Indonesia owns 10 Sukhoi jets after purchasing three Sukhoi last year, and the government is planning to buy six more.
In addition to the future project between Indonesia and China, the archipelago is engaged in negotiations with South Korea to jointly develop and procure FSX jet fighters, a deal in which Indonesia and South Korea would buy 50 and 200 of them, respectively.
Indonesia reportedly will cover 20 percent of the total cost of the initial project capital of around US$8 billion. The project was initiated in 2009 to provide both countries with five jet fighter prototypes by 2020.
The project also aims to secure multi-purpose fighter jets, on par with US’ F-16 fighter jets, to replace the aging F-4 and F-5 fighters currently used by the South Korean Air Force.
Wayan said the FSX jet fighters, claimed to be the first plane of its class ever built, would be higher in class than the F-16 but lower than F-35.
In addition, Indonesia has been offered the latest jet fighter, the JF-17, by Pakistan, reportedly a joint-production by Pakistan and China.
The manufacturers claimed the JF-17 was cheaper and stronger than the F-16, Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said. He added that 500 JF-17 jets had been produced; 350 were allocated for Pakistan and the remaining 150 were for China.
Indonesia has not decided whether to purchase JF-17 fighters.