Thursday, October 6, 2011

Indonesia goes F-16 shopping; MPs still wary over reliance on US

Indonesia's Jakarta Post is reporting that the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) is soon to be shopping for Lockheed Martin F-16s at Arizona's Boneyard, otherwise known as AMARG or the USAF's 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group.

The TNI-AU will choose 30 stored ex-USAF F-16A/Bs, with 24 to be upgraded for use and the remainder to be cannibalized for spares. This forms the grant of the aircraft offered by the US announced earlier this year, and the aircraft to be put into service will be upgraded with modern avionics and other weapons.

However, Trefor Moss over at The Diplomat blogs that Indonesian lawmakers are still wary of the deal and a perceived reliance on the US for Indonesia's defence needs. This stems from the crippling US arms embargo on Indonesia from 1992-2005 over human rights violations in East Timor (now Timor Leste), which severely curtailed the serviceability and operations of the TNI-AU's F-5E/F Tiger II, A-4H Skyhawk, F-16 and C-130 Hercules fleets.

Indonesia has since adopted a policy of divesting its sources for defence equipment, and the TNI-AU today operates Russian-made Sukhoi Su-27/30 Flankers alongside it's F-16A/Bs and F-5E/Fs in the air defence role.

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