Kate Lamb and Ananda Teresia, Jakarta – Indonesia's planned purchase of F-15 fighter jets is in advanced stages and awaiting final sign-off from the government, the Southeast Asian country's defense minister said on Monday.
Speaking after meeting his United States counterpart Lloyd Austin in Jakarta, Prabowo Subianto said that Boeing had agreed to the financial offer proposed and he was confident the package was affordable.
"The decision now is with the Indonesian government [...] Negotiations have advanced very well," he said.
In February, the US State Department approved the potential sale of Boeing F-15ID aircraft and related equipment to Indonesia in a deal valued at up to US$13.9 billion, the Pentagon said.
Indonesia has been seeking to overhaul its aging air fleet for some time, which currently includes US-made F-16 and Russian Sukhoi Su-27 and Su-30 jets.
"We certainly support the minister's efforts to continue to modernize their defense systems and capabilities and we want to continue to be helpful in any way we can," US Defense Secretary Austin said. "The acquisition of the F15 certainly increases interoperability," he added.
Addressing tensions between major powers in the Indo-Pacific region, Prabowo, an ex-special forces general, said Indonesia was committed to its policy of non-alignment and was "honored" to maintain good relations with both China and the United States.
Prabowo met with his Chinese counterpart Defense Minister Wei Fenghe in the city of Xi'an last Friday, where it was agreed that Indonesia and China would resume joint military training exercises and education, which had been paused during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this year, Indonesia and the United States also participated in the Super Garuda Shield exercise, a military partnership between the countries that is now one of the biggest joint, multinational exercises in the region.
Monday's meeting between Austin and Prabowo comes as the US works to strengthen its relations with countries in the region amid fears over Beijing's growing military presence, and possible conflict over Taiwan.
US Vice President Kamala Harris met Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos in Manila on Monday, part of a three-day trip that has been billed as a chance to reset security ties.
After his Jakarta leg, Austin will travel to Cambodia to attend the upcoming ASEAN defense ministerial meeting.