Indonesian minister outlines military equipment priorities

Singapore
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Indonesia's defence minister is hoping to increase the country's defence budget over the next four years, paving the way for it to order utility and attack helicopters, fixed-wing transport aircraft, light-attack aircraft and jet fighters.

The defence budget accounts for 0.7-0.8% of Indonesia's gross domestic product, but the plan is to increase it over the coming years to reach 1.2-1.5% of GDP in 2014, says defence minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro.

Indonesia avoided last year's global recession and its economy has been growing strongly this year, he says, adding that this makes the purchase of new equipment more likely.

"We hope to be able to provide new helicopters to the army," says Yusgiantoro, who confirms that the service wants to buy utility and attack examples.

He wants to ensure that the attack helicopters can also be used for other purposes, such as transport, rather than be solely for combat.

Indonesia's air force, meanwhile, has been working on a deal to buy eight Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano light attack aircraft. But Yusgiantoro says it will take a long time for any deal to be finalised, because the proposed procurement has yet to be referred to defence force headquarters. It would also later need to be referred to the defence ministry for approval.

Yusgiantoro says the Korea Aerospace Industries KT-1 is still in the competition. This type is already in the air force's fleet as a trainer aircraft.

In the transport sector, the air force largely relies on Lockheed Martin C-130s and Indonesian Aerospace CN-235s and C-212s.

Yusgiantoro says the government wants to buy more transports for the air force, because these can help with disaster relief duties. Indonesia in recent years has been struck by a number of devastating earthquakes, which has led the government to call on the air force to assist.

Yusgiantoro confirms that the country plans to order more fighter aircraft, but declines to elaborate. Jakarta has within the last few years ordered Sukhoi Su-27/30 fighters from Russia. Three of these remain on order, with deliveries expected later this year.