Palembang – Two Hawk-200 aircraft purchased from the UK will arrive in Indonesia on Friday 21 March, completing the supply of 24 Hawk 200/100 contract. The other 22 are now at Ppekanbaru airbase.
Commander of the Operational Command, Vice Marshall Purnomo Sidhi told journalists in Palembang that the 24 Hawk aircraft now in Pekanbaru represent the first installment of aircraft purchased from the UK, to beef up Indonesia's defence system.
He said that Indonesia actually needs a large number of aircraft to safeguard its huge airspace but this must conform with budgetary possibilities. Asked about the purchase of F-16s, the commander said this was a matter for the supplier. Indonesia is keen to purchase the aircraft and agreement was already reached long ago.
He said investigations were underway into the crash of an F-16 in which the pilot was killed. The weather was certainly a reason as the plane was trying to land in thick fog.
He was speaking after the appointment of a new commander of the Palembang airbase. The commander should ensure effective combination between tactical and strategic operations and establish close relations with the local government and society, he said. This cooperation would ensure that the base should take a full part in national duties including safeguarding security during the forthcoming elections. The commander said his command and indeed the entire air force were well prepared to safeguard the elections and the MPR session in 1998 and would be taking part in a parade of all forces in preparation for the May elections, due to be held at Perdanakusuma Airfield on 26 March, with General Feisal Tanjung as Inspector of Ceremony.