Fajar Pebrianto (Asia Pacific Defense Journal), Jakarta – Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto at the Halim Perdanakusuma airbase on Wednesday assured that Indonesia's military air fleet will continue to be expanded.
The latest plan, he elaborated, is to acquire a number of used military planes that are still considered to be in good condition.
"We plan to acquire a number of aircraft from overseas that are not too old," said Prabowo after the official handover of the Super Hercules C-130 Type J at the airbase on March 8.
Prabowo did not provide details about the acquisition of these used aircraft but assured that it would be announced publicly once the plan has been formulated. As for now, the only certain plan is the procurement of Dassault Rafale fighter jets from France.
"We will bring in Rafale fighters from France," said Subianto.
The acquisition of the Rafale fighters is one of five new cooperations in the field of defense agreed upon by the Indonesian and French defense Ministers, Prabowo Subianto and Florence Parly on February 10, 2022.
Six out of the 42 Rafale fighter jets ordered by Indonesia are scheduled to arrive in late 2026.
Amidst the 3-5 years Rafale procurement wait time, the Defense Minister said Indonesia will need to import several used fighters that can arrive in a shorter time period.
Indonesian Air Force reportedly to acquire Qatari mirages
French news outlet Intelligence Online reported that the 12 Mirage 2000-5 fighter aircraft of the Qatar Emiri Air Force is finally heading to Indonesia, despite interests from France and Bulgaria for the used fighters that are still in good condition.
Qatar received its first of its 12 new Mirage 2000-5 fighters in 1997 but was recently retired from service after the Middle Eastern country procured dozens of new fighter aircraft from France, the UK, and the United States as it increases its capability and size.
Citing a report from the Asia Pacific Defense Journal, it is believed that Indonesia will use these used Mirage 2000-5 fighters as a training and transition platform as it waits for the delivery of its new Dassault Rafale fighters ordered from France in 2021.
Indonesia has never operated fighter aircraft from France, and the Mirage 2000-5 would allow their pilots and ground crew to familiarize themselves with French combat aircraft.
Bulgaria and France were also said to have been interested in the fighters, with Bulgaria planning to replace its Soviet-era fighters and be in line with NATO-standard fighters, while France wanted to use the Qatari fighters as Aggressor training aircraft for their Rafale fleet.