Indonesia under President Joko Widodo may see a diversification of defence partners to achieve cost-effective procurement and develop local industry.
Earlier this month, Indonesia decided to buy into the South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration’s (DAPA) new mid-level fighter jet program.
Indonesia has typically relied on the US, Russia and Brazil for fighter aircraft and its new partnership with S. Korea indicates its readiness to find a regional partner to help achieve long-term military goals.
Jakarta has reportedly agreed to fund development costs up to 20 percent for the program worth an estimated $8 billion. A DAPA statement said it had signed an agreement with the Indonesian ministry of defense to develop the KF-X or Boramae fighter, which Seoul plans to deploy for operations around 2025.
Meanwhile, with the military budget set to grow Indonesian Military Commander General Moeldoko told local media that the air force is leaning toward the Su-35 as their F-5 replacement, with the JAS-39 in 2nd place and the F-16 a distant 3rd.
Indonesia’s defense procurement has grown significantly with a contract awarded recently to Airbus DS to provide its Air Force with the latest aircraft identification and air surveillance equipment earlier this year.
The company was awarded the contract by SBL Star Technology Pte Ltd., Singapore, to deliver two of its monopulse secondary surveillance radars MSSR 2000 I to equip the mobile air surveillance and tracking systems which will be operated by the Indonesian Air Force. The final delivery will be done beginning of next year.
Earlier this year the Indonesian Ministry of Defense took delivery of Rosoboronexport-built 37 BMP-3F vehicles, and will join 17 in-service models.
The first batch of Russian infantry fighting vehicles was given to Jakarta as part of a billion-dollar loan to Indonesia by the Russian state, signed September 6, 2007, during a visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Indonesian capital.
The infantry fighting vehicles ordered by Indonesia arrived at its main naval base in the Javanese city of Surabaya in November 2010.
A new contract to buy 37 more Russian BMP-3 vehicles, worth $114 million, was signed in early May 2013.
Joko's senior advisor Luhut Pandjaitan told local media last month that Indonesia hopes build stronger defence ties with neighbours, particularly now with the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.
According to Jokowi’s 41-page action plan, he has four main defense priorities.
First, continue supporting the professionalism of the Indonesian Military (TNI) by improving soldiers’ welfare and its main weapons systems by increasing the defense budget to 1.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) within five years.
Second, seek defense independence by reducing foreign technological imports, strengthening the domestic defense industry and diversifying Indonesia’s defense partnerships.
Third, complete the military’s Minimum Essential Force (MEF) blueprint and build it so that it eventually becomes a respectable maritime force in East Asia.
Finally, place defense policy as an integral part of a comprehensive and resilient national security system that reorders various defense, internal security, public safety and human security functions managed by the National Security Council (DKN).