Indonesia's new Air Force chief to prioritise procurement of jet fighters

Air Force chief of staff Air Marshall Yuyu Sutisna (right) speaks with Indonesian Military commander Marshall Hadi Tjahjanto after the inauguration ceremony at the State Palace in Jakarta on Jan 17, 2018.
Air Force chief of staff Air Marshall Yuyu Sutisna (right) speaks with Indonesian Military commander Marshall Hadi Tjahjanto after the inauguration ceremony at the State Palace in Jakarta on Jan 17, 2018. PHOTO: THE JAKARTA POST / ASIA NEWS NETWORK

JAKARTA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Indonesia's newly sworn-in Air Force chief of staff Air Marshall Yuyu Sutisna has said he would make the procurement of Russian-made Sukhoi SU-35 jet fighters and radar top of the list of the first priority programs.

Speaking after his inauguration at the State Palace on Wednesday (Jan 17), Air Marshall Yuyu said he was waiting for the contract to be signed to procure 11 Sukhoi units that would replace the F5-E Tiger jet fighters.

"I want the Sukhoi (purchase contract) to be signed as soon as possible, hopefully this month," he told The Jakarta Poston Wednesday.

The Indonesian Military (TNI) had announced the planned acquisition of the 11 Russian-made Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker jet fighters last year. Russia has pledged to buy Indonesian commodities for half of the value of the contract, which was worth some US$1.14 billion (S$1.4 billion), and provide a transfer-of-technology worth another 35 per cent.

Last week, Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said the contract documents have been ready since early January and the signing would take place in Jakarta in the near future.

The Flanker deal is the first major arms deal during the presidency of Joko Widodo to adhere to the 2012 Defence Industry Law, which requires every foreign arms purchase to include a combined deal of 85 per cent of counter-trade, local content and offset. The local content is set at a minimum of 35 per cent.

Air Marshall Yuyu, who was previously the Air Force deputy chief of staff, was sworn in on Wednesday to replace Air Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto, who was appointed as TNI commander in December.