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Jakarta Post

Ministry backs purchase of used foreign fighter jets, House balks

  • Novan Iman Santosa

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, July 24, 2020   /   02:01 pm
Ministry backs purchase of used foreign fighter jets, House balks A Eurofighter Typhoon plane takes off at the Farnborough Airshow, southwest of London, on July 24, 2004. (Agence France -Presse/Carl De Souza)

The Defense Ministry says it has thoroughly researched its planned purchase of 15 second-hand Typhoon fighter jets from Austria.

“Everything is studied and selected before the government issues a formal purchase offer,” ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Djoko Purwanto said in a press conference on Thursday, as reported by several online media.

“There are also studies on second-hand Alutsista [primary weapons systems],” he added.

Djoko was commenting on a July 10 letter from Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto to his Austrian counterpart, Klaudia Tanner, offering to buy the Austrian Air Force’s 15 Typhoon planes.

Djoko was the first defense official to comment on the plan to buy the Typhoons. He said the procurement of the heavy fighter jets was meant to strengthen Indonesian defense capabilities.

Prabowo’s letter drew criticism from observers, especially because President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo had discouraged the acquisition of second-hand Alutsista, particularly obsolete and outdated models.

Read also: Indonesia offers to buy Austria’s Typhoon jetfighters

The Austrian Typhoons are of the Tranche 1 configuration, with lower capabilities than the Tranch 2 and 3 models, as well as high maintenance and operational costs.

House of Representatives’ Commission I overseeing defense, foreign affairs and information said the plan violated Law No. 16/2012 on the Defense Industry, which requires foreign acquisition to include Counter Trade, Local Content, and Offset (IDKLO) provisions worth 85 percent of the acquisition’s value.

The law defines local content as components (hardware and software), intellectual property rights, engineering, man hours, customer support and training provided by Indonesian individuals or companies.

Offset is defined as an agreement to return some part of the contract value in the form of coproduction, joint ventures, buybacks, knowledge transfers or training.

Indonesia has yet to realize its planned purchase of 11 Su-35 Flanker E heavy fighter jets from Russia, worth about US$1.1 billion, because of possible US sanctions through the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.