Indonesia's new fighter procurement saga continues with US offer for F-15, F-18 aircraft

US sale F15 F18 Indonesia
USAF F-15 Strike Eagle and USN F-18 Super Hornet fighters conduct a joint mission. The United States recently proposed the sale of the two types to Indonesia.

The United States recently confirmed its willingness to sell F-15 and F-18 fighter jets to Indonesia after months of talks between the two countries' top defense officials. According to Nikkei Asia, the deal was deepened during a visit by the interim Defense Secretary, Christopher Miller, this week to Jakarta, during which he met his Indonesian counterpart Prabowo Subianto.

Indonesia has long been looking to replace its old fleet of F-16 jets, purchased from the United States in the late 1980s and 1990s, which operate alongside Russian Su-27SKM and Su-30 fighters.

During Prabowo's visit to Washington in October, he also allegedly expressed a desire to purchase Lockheed Martin's advanced F-35 stealth fighter, although US officials rejected the idea, as the order could take up to a decade to run. Instead, it appears the two parties have opted for a combination of F-15 and F-18 aircraft, manufactured by US companies McDonnell Douglas and Boeing.

The acquisition of new US fighter jets would strengthen Indonesia's ability to discourage Chinese incursions into areas of the South China Sea, where its 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone overlaps that of China. In recent years, there have been various tensions between the two nations in the area, mainly due to the incursion of Chinese fishing boats and coast guard ships.

According to Pedrason of the Indonesian Ministry of Defense, the potential purchase of US jets sparked immediate concern from the Chinese government.

In recent weeks, French sources had also confirmed an upcoming agreement between Jackarta and Paris to provide the Rafale fighter to the Indonesian Air Force. What will be the final chapter of the Indonesian saga?!

Written by Matteo Sanzani