The Indonesian military is expected to welcome two Sukhoi Su-35 “Flanker-E” to its combat aircraft fleet in October, after signing a contract to buy the fighter jets from Russia.
A spokesman for the Defense Ministry, Brig. Gen. Totok Sugiharto confirmed that the contract for 11 multirole combat aircrafts was signed in Jakarta on Feb. 14.
Rear Adm. Agus Setiadji, head of defense facilities agency at the ministry, signed on behalf of the Indonesian government with a representative from Russia’s state-owned defense product broker, Rosoboronexport.
The first two fighter jets are expected to arrive in early October, said Totok, in time to take part in the TNI parade to celebrate armed forces day on Oct. 5. TNI is the Indonesian acronym for the Indonesian Armed Forces.
“The Sukhoi jets would replace the existing F5-E Tiger jet fighters fleet,” he added.
The contract, worth $1.140 billion, was finalized following negotiations that started in 2017. It includes the signing of a bilateral deal in Moscow in August to barter coffee, tea, palm oil, cacao, spices and the commodities’ derivatives, processed fish and textiles as well as Indonesia’s defense products with the Sukhoi fleet. Indonesian state trading company PT Perusahaan Perdagangan Indonesia and Russian state conglomerate Rostec will be the agencies implementing the barter trade.
The part-barter deal will allow Indonesia to pay 50 percent of the Sukhoi jet fighter contract by exporting its commodities valued at $570 million, Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said in August at a joint press conference with Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu.
“With this barter deal, Indonesia can export more commodities that we have exported before, as well as the ones that we didn’t get to export previously,” Enggartiasto said.
Under Indonesia’s defense industry law, the procurement contract for defense equipment from foreign producer is subject to at least 35 percent offset requirements. Russia has said that it will provide 35 percent offset from the contract value by providing a training for maintenance and repair of the Sukhoi fleet.
In October, then-military chief Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo said in accordance to request from the air force, that the Sukhoi jets will be equipped with air-to-air missile, air-to-ground missile, bombs, ground support equipment, simulator, spare parts and spare engines.
The Indonesian Air Force already has a full squadron of Sukhoi Su-27 SKM and Su-30 Mk2 jets.
Since the administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who is President Joko Widodo’s predecessor, Indonesia has been significantly increasing its defense budget to modernize its aging Armed Forces fleet and equipment and rejuvenate its defense industry.
Its spending on military equipment aims to meet the minimum essential force target by 2024 or the bare minimum of primary defense equipment to safeguard the country’s vast archipelago.
This article first appeared in Arab News