The Indonesian Air Force (TNI AU) plans to purchase two squadrons of the US-made F-16 Block 72 Viper while procurement of 8-10 Russian Su-35 jets is still on the cards.
"We will buy two squadrons in the next strategic plan 2020-2024. We will purchase the newest type of Block 72 Viper," Indonesian Air Force Chief of Staff Marshal Yuyu Sutisna was quoted as saying at the Roesmin Nurjadin Airbase in Pekanbaru, the capital of Riau Province, on Monday.
"It (the proposal for the purchase of F-16 Block 72 Viper) is expected to be processed as of January 1, 2020, so they (F-16 Block 72 Viper) will increase our strength,” he said.
He noted that Indonesia currently has 33 F-16 Fighting Falcons that have, until now, been one of the main weaponry of the Air Force. The fighter jets are stationed at squadron 16 of the Roesmin Nurjadin Airbase in Pekanbaru, Riau Province, and squadron 3 of Iswahjudi Airbase in Madiun, East Java.
The TNI AU also plans to buy Russian-made Sukhoi 35 fighter jets in the next five years, he stated.
Editor’s Note: The statement air chief that the Su-35 jets would be purchased in the next 5 years, rather than in the next year or so puts a big question mark on the purchase. Reports in the beginning of this year stated that the purchase proposal had been finalized and only formalities remained.
A senior executive of Russia’s Rostec had stated during the LIMA 2019 show that Indonesian elections had come in the way of the Su-35 contract signing and that the deal would be concluded soon after the elections.
It is questionable why the TNI-AU would need the Su-35s if it was intending to buy the latest generation Fighting Falcons which come equipped with some of the electronic wizardry and weapons of the F-35.