Category: Defence

Indonesian military TNI to welcome two Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets this year

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.

Sukhoi SU-35.JPG
Sukhoi Su-35. Photo:

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

Two armed groups abducted Indonesian sailors in the Philippines

The Indonesian navy said Sunday that seven Indonesian sailors taken hostage in the Philippines’ Sulu Sea are believed to have been kidnapped by two separate armed groups.

Navy spokesman First Admiral Edi Sucipto said the tugboat Charles 001 manned by 13 crew departed on June 18 from Cagayan De Oro Port in the Philippines bound for Samarinda, the provincial capital of East Kalimantan when it was ambushed by nine men in two boats coming from the direction of Jolo Island.

“One of the men was speaking Malay and carrying a long-barreled rifle. They abducted three crew members and seized the boat’s communication devices,” Sucipto said.

The captors allowed the boat and the rest of the crew to continue their journey.

The first abduction happened on June 20 at 11.30 am local time and the second ambush followed only one hour and 15 minutes later.

“The tug boat was ambushed by another group of about 10 men who were using three boats. Based on the information we collected, the captors were speaking English and acted rudely and arrogantly, armed with gun and long-barreled rifle,” Sucipto said.

The captors abducted four crewmembers and released the boat with six remaining crew to continue its journey.

Tugboat Charles, which was ambushed twiceand whose seven crew have been kidnapped by armed groups in the southern Philippines waters. Photo courtesy of Indonesian Navy

The boat is now docked in Semayang Port of Balikpapan, East Kalimantan after it was located by Multatuli-561 warship and escorted by Kerapu-821 war ship back to Balikpapan.

The government confirmed the kidnappings on Friday after initial confusion about the veracity of the reports.

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi strongly criticized the abduction of Indonesian sailors by suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf militant group and the third one in the same waters since March.

“This third occurrence is really intolerable,” Retno said during a press conference on Friday.

“The Indonesian government demanded the Philippine government to ensure security in the southern Philippines waters so it does not disrupt economic activity in the region. In this case, the Indonesian government stands ready to cooperate,” she added.

Following last week’s abductions, the Indonesian government imposed again the moratorium, which was imposed after the second kidnapping in April, to ship coal to the Philippines.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir said Friday plans to conduct joint patrols in the waters bordering Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines is yet to be materialised

The joint patrol aimed to prevent more hijackings of ships in the waters was one of the four agreements resulted from a trilateral meeting between foreign ministers and military chiefs of the three countries in Yogyakarta’s presidential palace, Gedung Agung, on May 5.

“The three countries are in  the process of discussing the patrol’s standard operating procedures, following the Yogyakarta meeting. We are pushing for that to happen soon,” Arrmanatha told reporters.


Indonesia vows to continue sea crackdown despite row with China

Indonesia will not relent in its crackdown on illegal fishing, the country’s foreign minister said, after China protested the shooting at its fishing boats by the Indonesian navy. Continue reading “Indonesia vows to continue sea crackdown despite row with China”

No more Natuna spat with China, Indonesia says

Indonesia said it has resolved the incident last month when a Chinese coast guard vessel rammed into its fishing boat apprehended by an Indonesian patrol boat for poaching in the waters off Natuna Island, which borders the South China Sea.

“It is considered resolved, it was a misunderstanding. We respect each other, there is no competing claims at all,” Pramono said according to a press release posted on the cabinet secretary’s website Wednesday.

Pramono didn’t elaborate further on his statement, which came after President Joko Widodo met with a Chinese government delegation led by head of its international relations and foreign affairs, Song Tao.

But deputy foreign minister AM Fachir, who was also present at the meeting, said there were no mention about the incident during the meeting.

“There were no discussions regarding the Natuna,” Fachir told The Parrot on Thursday.

Hikmahanto Juwana, an international law professor at the University of Indonesia, regretted Pramono’s statement, saying that the incident showed that Chinese government had tried to assert its nine dash line claim, which extends into Indonesian waters.

He added that a problem regarding Indonesia’s sovereign rights in the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf should not be taken lightly and that Indonesian officials should not be lenient when dealing with a country like China.

“We need to remember that President Jokowi’s free and active foreign policy is that every country is a friend until they infringe on our territory or sovereign rights,” he told The Parrot.

He added that it would be better if the government start some exploration and exploitation on the Natuna waters continental shelf as a “display of authority” so that in the future China would not easily assert its claim based on its nine-dash line.

“In the future, we have to be firm and assertive if China infringes on Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone or continental shelf,” he said.

Indonesia protested China the incident at the end of last month that occurred in the northernmost maritime frontier near the Natuna Islands. China’s assertion of its claim to the entire disputed South China Sea is mark by the nine-dash-line which extends into Natuna. China has said that the Kwan Fey boat was fishing in China’s traditional fishing ground.

The maritime affairs and fisheries patrol boat, which was towing the boat when it was rammed, let the fishing boat go but arrested its eight crew.

Maritime affairs and fisheries minister Susi Pudjiastuti, who spearheads Indonesia’s crusade against illegal fishing which cost the country up to $20 billion annually, said the case was still being investigated.

“We would only prosecute the captain, master engineer and fishing master. The rest of the crew will be deported,” she told journalists during a media gathering earlier this month.

Three killed in Air Force plane crash

Three people were killed on Wednesday when a military plane crashed into a residential area in Indonesia’s East Java province, officials said. Continue reading “Three killed in Air Force plane crash”

Brother of Medan crash victim died in similar accident 24 years ago

The brother of an Air Force member who was killed when the Hercules C-130 plane crashed into Medan also died in a similar accident involving the same type of aircraft 24 years ago.  Continue reading “Brother of Medan crash victim died in similar accident 24 years ago”

President Jokowi taps Gatot Nurmantyo for TNI chief

President Joko Widodo has proposed army chief General Gatot Nurmantyo to be the next commander of the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI), after weeks of media speculation. Continue reading “President Jokowi taps Gatot Nurmantyo for TNI chief”

Indonesian military chief: No more second-hand fighter jets

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. Continue reading “Indonesian military chief: No more second-hand fighter jets”