JAKARTA --- The U.S. has indicated it will sell F-15 and F-18 fighter jets to Indonesia following months of meetings between top defense officials from the two countries, according to a defense official in Jakarta.
U.S. Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller was in Jakarta on Monday and Tuesday to meet with Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto. During those meetings, Miller agreed to sell the two models of fighter jets to Indonesia, which has long wanted to upgrade from its aging F-16 fleet.
Indonesia has been pushing the U.S. to sell it F-15, F-18 and F-35 fighter jets, but finally agreed on only two models as the third could take up to 10 years to deliver, [Rodon Pedrason, director-general of defense strategy at Indonesia's Defense Ministry], said.
Pedrason said the defense ministry under Subianto has a grand plan of procuring more than 100 superior fighter jets, to add to Indonesia's current fleet of less than 60. "We'll have around 170 fighter jets at the end of it. Extraordinary," Pedrason said.
He did not say when the ministry hopes to achieve that target, but added Indonesia hopes to make available between $9 billion and $11 billion for new weaponry and military equipment over the next 20 years. He said Indonesia was also planning to take soft-loan offers from countries like France, Turkey, China and Russia.
As the deal for the new fighter jets could take years to come to fruition, Indonesia is planning to buy used aircraft such as the Eurofighter Typhoon, which can be delivered much sooner. Previous reports said Subianto was interested in purchasing 15 such aircraft from Austria.
But Pedrason said the plan was only a stopgap. "It is most urgent for us now to have weaponry that can balance [the power] against red dot countries near us," he added, citing not just the South China Sea but also Indonesia's older border disputes with neighboring Malaysia and Singapore. (end of excerpt)
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