Lawmakers Agree to Buy Leopard Tanks
Markus Junianto Sihaloho
After much debate, the House of Representatives has agreed to buy 100 Leopard battle tanks from Germany, a lawmaker said on Monday.
A few months ago, some lawmakers questioned the government’s plan to buy Leopard tanks from the Netherlands, saying the tanks were not suited for Indonesia’s mountainous terrain and narrow roads, which require the maneuverability of smaller combat vehicles.
But on Monday, Mahfudz Siddiq, chairman of House Commission I for defense affairs, said the commission had met days ago and agreed to make the purchase from Germany after renegotiating the deal.
In the new deal, he said, the price per unit would range from $800,000 to $1.5 million, much less than the previous price of $2.5 million per unit from the Netherlands. The producer also agreed to provide a complete package of tanks capable of different functions and weighing between 40 and 60 tons.
“The last point is about transfer of technology with [the arms manufacturer company] Pindad,” Mahfudz said on Monday.
The House’s decision to make the purchase comes after a call by President Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono to raise the defense budget to Rp 77 trillion ($8.1
billion) in 2013.
“Hopefully, this [deal] is the best result after a lot of arguing
between House Commission I and the Defense Ministry,” Mahfudz said, adding that the Army had also agreed to the deal.
The Army chief of staff, Gen. Pramono Edhie Wibowo, recently said most tanks would be deployed to Kalimantan while others would be stationed on Java and Sumatra.