Out of the cocoon: The body of a Sukhoi SU-30 MK2 jet fighter jet is unloaded in disassembled condition from Antonov An-124-100 Ruslan strategic transport aircraft at Sultan Hasanuddin Air Force Base in Makassar, early Saturday morning. Two jet fighters were delivered on Friday evening as part of a batch of six jet fighters. (Courtesy of Sultan Hasanuddin Air Force Base)
Two out of the six Sukhoi Su-30 MK2 jet fighters ordered by the Indonesian Air Force (TNI AU) arrived at Sultan Hasanuddin Air Force Base in Makassar late on Friday evening.
A spokesman from the base, Maj. Muliadi, said on Saturday the two jet fighters were part of an order of six Su-30 MK2s arriving in batches.
“The remaining four jet fighters will arrive in June and July,” he said.
The Russian-made jet fighters arrived onboard An-12-100 Ruslan strategic transport aircraft in disassembled condition and without engines. The engines are scheduled to arrive on Feb. 27 for the entire six jet fighters, totaling 12 engines.
In addition to the two jet fighters made by Komsomolsk-na Amure Aircraft Production Association (KNAPO), 17 technicians from the aircraft manufacturers will assemble the jet fighters.
Muliadi said the assembly process would take two weeks to complete, including test flights.
The Su-30 MK2 is a twin-engine, dual-seater jet fighter with a range of some 3,000 kilometers and is able to carry a payload of some eight tons.
As with previous shipments, the jet fighters do not come with weapons, other than internal cannons.
“The weapons will be purchased separately after the jet fighters are assembled, just like other batches,” Muliadi said.
Defense analysts have criticized the separate acquisition of the jet fighters, which do not include weapons such as bombs and missiles.
The government, however, said budget constraints had limited its ability to buy a complete package.
With the two jet fighters, now Indonesia has six single-seater Su-27 SKMs and six Su-30 MK2s.
The Su-27/30 jet fighters are known as “Flankers”.
By the end of this year, there will be 16 jet fighters of this type under the command of the 11th Squadron.
The fighters have been arriving in batches since 2003, starting with Su-27 SKM, which arrived at Iswahjudi Air Force Base in Madiun, East Java.
The home base of the fighters was then moved to Makassar in 2005, making the deliveries of the heavyweight jet fighters direct to Makassar since 2009, 2010 and 2013.
The government is currently improving its air force assets both in jet fighter and transport roles to augment and replace ageing aircraft.
Other than increasing the number of Flankers, the TNI AU is also expecting the delivery of 24 F-16 C/D Block 25, granted by the US. Indonesia will be responsible for bearing the cost of modernizing the lightweight, multi-role aircraft.
Indonesia currently has 10 F-16 A/B Block 15 OCUs, in the Third Squadron, which were acquired in 1989. These jet fighters will also undergo modernization.
In September, the TNI AU received four EMB-324 Super Tucano ground attack aircraft out of 16 ordered from Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer. Joining the 21st Squadron, the aircraft are a replacement for the legendary American-made Rockwell OV-10 Bronco.
Another new acquisition is the T-50 Golden Eagle lead-in fighter trainer (LIFT) aircraft from the Korean Aerospace Industry, to replace the British-made BAE Hawk Mk 53 in the 15th Squadron.
Indonesia will receive four C-130H Hercules heavy lift transport aircraft granted by Australia and will buy another six. Indonesia currently has two squadrons of Hercules, the 31st and 32nd.
Indonesia has also received two C-295 medium lift transport aircraft out of nine aircraft ordered from Spain-based Airbus Military in cooperation with state aircraft maker PT Dirgantara Indonesia, which will make the aircraft in Bandung. The C-295 will join the CN-235 and Fokker F-27 in the second squadron.