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Jakarta Post
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RI first class air force on horizon: Minister

  • Bambang Muryanto

    The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta | Sat, September 21 2013 | 10:21 am
Ready to fly: Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro shares a light moment with House of Representatives’ Commission I member, retired Marshal Basri Sidahabi, while inspecting a German-made Grob G120TP-A at the Adisucipto Air Force Base in Yogyakarta on Friday. The government received four out of the 16 aircraft ordered. (JP/Bambang Muryanto)(JP/Bambang Muryanto)

Ready to fly: Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro shares a light moment with House of Representatives'€™ Commission I member, retired Marshal Basri Sidahabi, while inspecting a German-made Grob G120TP-A at the Adisucipto Air Force Base in Yogyakarta on Friday. The government received four out of the 16 aircraft ordered. (JP/Bambang Muryanto)

Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said that the recent attention given to the Indonesian Air Force (TNI AU) would result in a first class air force.

'€œThe air force base in Makassar [South Sulawesi] will receive six new Sukhoi jet fighters soon,'€ Purnomo said during the hand-over ceremony for four training aircraft at the 101st Training Squadron (Skadik) hangar, Adisutjipto Air Force Base (AFB), on Friday.

The four German-made Grob G120TP-A are part of an order of 16 airplanes '€” worth some US$72 million '€” to be delivered in stages until 2014.

Also in attendance at the ceremony was Grob Aircraft CEO Andre Hibbler.

'€œThe cockpit is comfortable. It'€™s air conditioned,'€ said Purnomo as he was inspecting the aircraft.

Purnomo said the aircraft, which were assembled at Adisutjipto AFB and tested on Aug. 28-29, would replace Skadik 101'€™s older training craft '€” the Swiss-made FFA AS-202 Bravo and American-made T-34C Turbo Mentor.

'€œOn behalf of the Indonesian government I express gratitude to the German government for this cooperation,'€ Purnomo said.

Marshal (ret.) Basri Sidahabi, of the House of Representatives'€™ Commission I overseeing defense affairs, said that the renewal of major-weapons systems would strengthen the country'€™s air defense system. '€œIt will bring TNI AU on par with the air forces in neighboring countries,'€ he said.

The same appreciation was also expressed by Hibbler to Purnomo: '€œIn the name of our family and government, I would like to say thank you for this cooperation,'€ he told the minister.

Adisutjipto AFB'€™s spokesman Maj. Hamdi Londong said the Grob G120TP-A, which is powered by a Rolls Royce M250-B17F engine with a five-blade propeller, was chosen as it fulfilled the operational requirements. The two seater airplane with a side-by-side configuration was deemed more suitable than the Finmeccanica (Alenia Aermacchi) SF-260TP and Pacific Aerospace CT-4.

'€œThe aircraft'€™s superiority is due to its ability to fly at a speed of 439 kilometers per hour,'€ said Londong, adding that it'€™s low cantilevered wings would improve agility.

Londong also said that with a fuel capacity of 360 liters, the aircraft could fly for five hours with a reserve of 45 minutes.

'€œIt is also capable of operating in temperatures between 20 and 72 degrees Celsius,'€ he said.

Other superior elements of the aircraft include the fact that it only needs a runway of some 374 meters; it has two avionics system in the dashboard, analog and digital; and it has a sliding bubble canopy for 360-degree visibility.

Londong estimated the new training craft could be used for up to 30 years. The last batch of two Sukhoi Su-30 MK2 jet fighters '€” also known as Flanker '€” arrived at Sultan Hasanuddin AFB, just outside Makassar on Sept. 4.

A total of six Su-30 MK2s have been delivered this year with earlier batches arrived in February and May. The Flankers are operated by the 11th Air Squadron.

On Sept. 11, two Korea-made T-50i Golden Eagle lead-in fighter trainers (LIFTs) arrived at Iswahjudi AFB in Magetan, East Java, for the 15th Air Squadron.

Indonesia ordered a total of 16 of T-50i LIFTs which will be delivered in stages every two weeks until the end of 2013.

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