Indonesia to acquire three Russian-made jet fighters

Other News Materials 9 April 2008 13:18 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Indonesia will receive three Russian-made Sukhoi jet fighters later this year to back up the country's existing warplanes, a senior military official said Wednesday.

Air Force Chief of Staff Marshal Subandrio said the three Sukhoi fighter planes from Russia are expected to arrive in the country before the National Armed Forces Day on October 5.

Subandrio, who like many Indonesians goes by only one name, said the three Sukhoi Su-30 jet fighters would become part of the Air Force's Sukhoi Squadron V based in Makassar, South Sulawesi.

"The new fighter aircraft from Russia will heighten the state of the Air Force's operational readiness," the state-run Antara news agency quoted Subandrio as saying, adding that the Defence Ministry was at present negotiating with Russia about the planes' delivery to Indonesia.

Meanwhile, the defence ministry's director general for defence facilities, Rear Marshal Erik Herryanto, said the ministry and Sukhoi aircraft maker Rosoborn Export would soon finalize negotiations on the supply of six Sukhoi fighter planes to Indonesia.

"The process to purchase the six Sukhois is almost completed and we are now only waiting for the issuance of a letter of credit by the finance ministry," Herryanto said.

The letter-of-credit issuing process would take three to six months so it was still difficult to say when exactly the Sukhois would be delivered, he said.

Indonesia shifted its shopping for military equipment outside the United States, to sellers including Russia, after Washington imposed arms sale embargo to Jakarta in the early 1990s.

The US in 1992 restricted arms sales and most American training for Indonesia citing on human rights abuses. In late 1990s, Washington formally cut off its military relations with Jakarta, after a rampage by an army-backed militia in what was then East Timor province.

However, some counter-terrorism training was resumed after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and other targets.