National

Australia, RI prepare for
transfer of C-130H Hercules

The Australian and Indonesian governments are processing the transfer of four used Lockheed Martin C-130H Hercules aircraft to the Indonesian Air Force this year, a defense ministry official said Tuesday.

Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Hartind Asrin told The Jakarta Post that representatives from the two countries would meet later this month in Jakarta to discuss about the hand over.

He said the two countries’ representatives would also meet in Australia to inspect the aircraft directly.

“We expect to sign a memorandum of understanding sometime in February to seal the hand over,” he said over the phone.

The US, as Hercules’ producer, has also approved the deal, according to Hartind.

Indonesia uses the Hercules not only for troop deployments but also for humanitarian missions.

In addition to C-130H model, Indonesia currently operates the much older C-130B model. Dating back to the 1960s, Indonesia was the first foreign user of the heavy tactical transport aircraft.

The Indonesian Air Force also operates a number of L-100s, the civilian version of the Hercules. Most of the C-130Bs are operated by the 32nd Squadron based at Abdulrahman Saleh Air Force Base in Malang, East Java while the C-130Hs are operated by the 31st Squadron based at Halim Perdanakusuma Air Force Base in East Jakarta. The 17th Squadron also operates one C-130H and one L-100.

Australia operates the newer C-130J Super Hercules model.

In April 2007, Australia donated a cache of surplus spare parts worth Rp 2.8 billion (US$304,000 in 2007) to Indonesia. The spare parts were for the C-130E model being decommissioned in Australia, but were compatible with the C-130H.

Indonesia is also working with the US on a grant of 24 Lockheed F-16A/B Fighting Falcon jet fighters. The aircraft will be upgraded from the Block 25 standard to the Block 32 standard.

Currently Indonesia has 10 F-16A/B with the Block 15 operational capability upgrade (OCU) standard, based at the Iswahjudi Air Force Base in Madiun, East Java.

In addition to acquiring secondhand aircraft from foreign air forces, Indonesia is also buying new ones.

The Defense Ministry and the Air Force have confirmed the purchase of six Russian-made Sukhoi Su-30MKKs to enforce the 11th Squadron based at Sultan Hasanuddin Air Force Base in Makassar, South Sulawesi, worth US$480 million.

State-owned aircraft maker PT Dirgantara is working with Spanish-based Airbus Military to supply nine NC-295 medium transport aircraft worth $320 million.

Other procurement programs include 16 KAI T-50 Golden Eagle advanced trainers, worth $400 million, from South Korea, and eight Embraer E-314 Super Tucano counter-insurgency aircraft from Brazil.

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