Indonesia plans to upgrade its Airforce

Indonesia has set on a speedy path to upgrade its Airforce. The Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) plans to acquire 2 squadrons worth of new Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 72 Viper fighter aircraft as part of its Strategic Plan 2020 to 2024. This was announced by the TNI-AU’s Chief of Staff, Marshal Yuyu Sutsina in Roesmin Nurjadin Air Base in Riau on 28 October 2019.

Marshall Sutsina mentioned that Indonesia still relies on the F-16 for its air defense requirements and believes that it will continue to do so in the future. The TNI-AU equipped with 33 of the aircraft in different variants making it the most prolific fighter aircraft in its fleet. These fighters are currently based in Roesmin Nurjadin Air Base in Riau, and Iswashjudi Air Base in East Java.

The F-16 Block 70/72 Viper is the latest variant of the venerable F-16 Fighting Falcon line of single-engine multirole fighter from the US, and is also offered to several regional air forces. Indonesia is said to be the first air arm in the ASEAN region to operate the F-16 Fighting Falcon, receiving their first F-16B Block 15 aircraft in 1989.

Indonesia is also in the process of acquiring the Russian-made Sukhoi Su-35, with 11 units under negotiations with Russia.

In addition, Indonesian Ministry of Defence (MOD) confirmed that they are looking to procure the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft from the US government, and is also interested in having industrial cooperation to support the aircraft. The C-130J Super Hercules is expected to improve the service’s air transport capability and replace legacy assets, mostly older C-130B Hercules aircraft that are in service since the 1960s.

An initial procurement of at least five (5) aircraft is planned, although more units will be needed to completely replace legacy units. The TNI-AU currently operates a fleet of up to 20 aircraft, all mixed variants of the older C-130 Hercules forming its heavy tactical airlift capability.

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