Indonesia to boost air force with F-15EX, Rafale fighter jets

Indonesia buy F15EX Rafale
Qatari Emiri Air Force Rafale flies in formation over Doha, Qatar,
alongside U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle.

The never-ending story of Indonesia's procurement of new combat aircraft seems to have reached its final chapter. According to Marshal Fajar Prasetyo, Chief of Staff of the Indonesian Air Force on Thursday, the nation plans to purchase Boeing F-15EX and Dassault Rafale fighters between 2021 and 2024.

In addition, Jakarta will also procure C-130J cargo planes and long-range mid-altitude unmanned fighter aircraft as well as modernize its current fighter fleet within the year, Prasetyo said.

In detail, Indonesia plans to buy 36 Rafales and 8 F-15EXs, with six of the latter expected to arrive by 2022.

He explained that the defense has often changed procurement plans as a result of dynamic global and nation conditions.

Despite various changes of mind, the Rafale and the F-15 were already on Jakarta's wish list, as per our articles last year (Indonesia-Rafale - Indonesia-F15). These deals will mark a further sales boost for Dassault following the recent agreement with Greece, while Boeing will secure the first export order for the F-15EX.

The procurement of the new fighter jets aims to strengthen Indonesia's ability to deter Chinese incursions into the South China Sea areas around the Natuna Islands, where its 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone overlaps that of China. In recent years, the two nations have experienced increasing friction in the area, mainly due to the incursion of Chinese fishing boats and coast guard vessels.

However, doubts about the budget remain. Estimating the total deal for 44 new fighters at about $ 3.5 billion (just for the aircraft), it will be hard for the nation to raise the funds to cover that sum. For several years now it has been postponing the upgrade of the old F-16s due to economic issues. Jakarta has also repeatedly considered buying second-hand fighters, such as the Austrian Eurofighters.

👉 You may also like: Boeing F-15EX makes first flight

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Photo Credit: USAF/Staff Sgt. Justin Parsons

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