The United States is offering Indonesia additional F-16 jets, which it said would enhance Indonesia’s squadron strength by up to three times
“The grant is an addition to the 24 units of F-16s that were previously approved,” Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said in a press conference on Wednesday.
Last November, the United States said it would supply Indonesia with 24 refurbished F-16 fighters as part of a security cooperation pact between both countries, signed under the Comprehensive Partnership Agreement framework by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and US President Barack Obama.
Under the grant scheme, the Indonesian government will pay for the rejuvenation and regeneration cost of the F-16s.
Purnomo said that the funding for the aircraft rejuvenation is different from the budget allocated for maintenance of Indonesia’s existing F-16s.
“For existing aircraft, we’ve already allocated a maintenance budget. The new budget is for the procurement of the new jets,” Purnomo said.
Defense Ministry Secretary General Eris Herryanto said that the ministry received the additional grant offer when it visited the United States last week.
Purnomo and Eris declined to explain how many additional jets the United States had offered but said that the offer needed to be discussed.
Purnomo said that the grant will help Indonesia meet 30 percent of its targeted minimum strength for its primary defense equipment, known as alutsista , well before the 2024 target date.
“This can be realized with the same budget but with more alutsista,” Purnomo said.
The ministry is also expecting next month delivery of four units of the light combat aircraft Super Tucano that it ordered from Brazil-based Empresa Braziliera de Aeronautica (Embraer).
“The four aircraft are already heading toward Indonesia and they are expected to arrive on September 2 in Malang,” Eris said on Wednesday.