Indonesia will buy four Russian Beriev BE-200 aircraft for its armed forces and for cloud seeding to extinguish forest or land fires.
"We have submitted the proposal and included it in our strategic plan to buy four aircraft. This would be sufficient," the countrys Air Force Chief of Staff, Marshal Agus Supriatna, stated after meeting Vice President Jusuf Kalla here on Friday, according to Antara news.
He noted that the Beriev BE-200 aircraft is ideal for conducting water bombing operations in areas affected by fires. With additional Beriev aircraft being deployed to conduct cloud seeding operations, we would also be able to complete the operations quickly, he added.
To extinguish the current fires in Sumatra, the government has leased two Russian amphibious aircraft to conduct cloud seeding operations to create artificial rain. "Many sorties are needed. An aircraft needs 20 to 30 minutes to fetch water from the sea and 15 to 17 seconds to load before flying for 30 minutes to reach a location," he was quoted as saying by Antara news.
During the government of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, two BE-200 aircraft had been used to conduct a similar operation for several months and were leased on a contract worth up to US$5.4 million. Indonesia has also been offered the option to buy the aircraft.