Jakarta – Indonesia’s military chief General Moeldoko has said the country should no longer buy second-hand defence equipment, after an F-16 fighter jet burst into flames on runway at the Halim Perdanakusuma airbase. Moeldoko said President Joko Widodo told him that Indonesia would stop procuring used military aircraft.
“We talked to the president during a flight. The president told us that there should be no more gifts like that. We have to buy new equipment,” Moeldoko said on Metro TV.
In 2012, the United States and Indonesia made an agreement that the largest country in Southeast Asia would get 24 second-hand F-16s to allow Indonesia a much-needed capability to protect its airspace.
The Indonesian government said at that time it would have to spend 750 million dollars to upgrade them.
The fighter jet that was engulfed in flames on Thursday was one of five F-16 planes that arrived from the United States last year, the Air Force said.
The military said it was grounding the remaining four jets while investigations are being carried out to determine the cause of the accident.
The ill-fated jet was about to take off when the pilot saw a fire on the back. The pilot was injured and the jet burned.
A deputy speaker of House of Representatives, Fadli Zon, said the government should be careful about buying second-hand military hardware.
“Defence equipment must be modern and has the latest technology, not obsolete technology,” he said. “We should not accept something that belongs to a museum,” he said.