Indonesia's new Air Force chief sworn in by Jokowi

JAKARTA - Air Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto was sworn in as Indonesia's new Air Force chief by President Joko Widodo in a ceremony at the presidential palace on Wednesday (Jan 18).

Mr Hadi, who was the Defence Ministry's Inspector-General, is also widely said to be the President's preferred candidate to replace four-star General Gatot Nurmantyo as chief of Indonesia's armed forces (TNI).

The question now is when General Gatot will step down. He is due to officially retire in 2018, but the brouhaha over his unilateral decision to suspend ties with the Australian Defence Force late last year has cast doubt on whether he will stay until then.

Mr Hadi, 53, is a career officer in the TNI who has held various command postings before being appointed to the top job in the air force.

The trained pilot said after his inauguration on Wednesday that one of his key focuses as air force chief is to achieve a zero-accident rate. The Indonesian military has recorded several aircraft related accidents in recent years.

"I have a programme to conduct more transparent planning when it comes to the procurement of equipment and (primary weaponry systems), to allow all of our air resources to operate safely," he said.

"Management is very important. If we have good management, aircraft accidents can be avoided."