Indonesia could sign a US$1 billion contract with Russia to buy a squadron of Su-35 fighter jets within a month.
The Impending sale which was confirmed by Defense Minister, Ryamizard Ryacudu yesterday has come as a surprise as there was no official announcement of a winner though there were other aircraft in the race. Dassault of France, Eurofighter and Saab Gripen were courting Indonesia to select their respective aircraft.
The reason for selecting the Su-35, as given by Ryamizard was that Indonesian air force pilots were more attuned to flying Russian fighters than that of other countries. Indonesia’s air force flies Su-30, Su-27, Mig-21 and also F-16s.
The Russian offer of a US$ 3 billion loan to buy armaments could have convinced Jakarta to go with the Sukhois. No loan offer had been made by any other competitor.
The US$ 3 billion loan could buy more Sukhois or ships, helicopters and transport aircraft which Indonesia badly needs to modernize its defence forces.