After his much-anticipated visit to the US from Oct. 15 to 19, Indonesia’s Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto is scheduled to visit Austria to discuss the possible sale of Eurofighter Typhoon jet fighters to his country, The Jakarta Post says.
Although there is no official confirmation yet, Prabowo is expected to also visit France, Germany and Turkey in a series of visits aimed at cementing deals for the procurement of weaponry and for defense industry cooperation to help domestic companies meet the so-called Minimum Essential Force (MEF, the plan aimed to create a credible defense system for Indonesia) targets by 2024.
According to a leaked document, Prabowo sent a letter dated Oct. 8 to his Austrian counterpart Klaudia Tanner, thanking her for a letter dated Sep. 4 in response to Prabowo’s initial letter dated Jul. 10.
As already reported, in her September letter Tanner officially responded to Indonesia’s request to buy 15 Eurofighters from her country adding that she had directed the General Staff to prepare for negotiations with Jakarta.
Austria’s Die Presse first reported on Jul. 18, 2020 that Austrian defence minister Klaudia Tanner had received a letter from her Indonesian counterpart Prabowo Subianto expressing interest in the aircraft.
Copies purported to be of the letter emerged on social media. In the letter, Subianto wrote that to help modernise the Tentara Nasional Indonesia Angkatan Udara (TNI-AU, Indonesian Air Force) he would like to enter “official deliberations” to buy all 15 examples.
“We are in the middle of procuring vital [defense] equipment to protect our national territory and citizens, thus following [up on] our proposal [regarding] the Austrian Eurofighter [airplanes],” Prabowo said in the letter, a copy of which was received by the The Jakarta Post from an Austrian source.
Prabowo added that he would be in Vienna on Oct. 20 and hoped he could use the occasion to discusses issues of mutual concern regarding defense. As of Oct. 14, the Post had not received any confirmation from the ministry or Prabowo’s spokesman Dahnil on the authenticity of the letter.
Noteworthy for Indonesia buying used weapons from other countries, such as the Austrian Typhoons, is an option to meet MEF targets, while the second is to buy all its military hardware brand new for higher quality.
The delivery of second-hand jet fighters may take between 12 and 24 months, while the delivery of brand-new jet fighters (such as the Sukhoi Su-35 that Indonesia originally elected replace TNI-AU aging F-5E Tiger II fleet) may take some 36 months or even longer.
Photo credit: Bundesheer
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