Andrzej Jeziorski/SINGAPORE

BAE Systems and Thomson-CSF are preparing to bid for an emerging requirement to upgrade Indonesia's air defence radar system.

Sources close to the programme say that no formal requirement has emerged from Jakarta, although the upgrade is included on a defence ministry "wish list". The project is expected to cover the purchase of three to six three-dimensional air defence radars to enhance existing coverage.

According to Thomson-CSF International chairman and chief executive Jean-Paul Perrier, Indonesia is expected to select the radar in about "2002 to 2003".

"It's not in our interest to wait too long," says Perrier, as US manufacturers are expected to bid if Washington lifts its arms embargo. Thomson declines to specify what it will bid.

Thomson-CSF has already supplied two TRS 2215D and 12 TRS 2230D systems. In the mid-1980s, the French company also sold the country primary and secondary air traffic control radars and 10 regional control centres, which could augment Indonesia's air defence network.

Thomson also installed maritime surveillance radars on the Straits of Malacca.

Perrier says that Thomson has established a partnership with Indonesian Aerospace (formerly IPTN) to install French systems on three CN235 maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) ordered by the Indonesian navy. "We have sold our equipment on the CN235, and we have a partnership with Indonesian Aerospace in this field, to work with them on a system called Amascos," says Perrier. The deal will come as some relief to the navy, which has been frustrated by funding problems. The navy selected the CN235MPAs in the early 1990s for a 1995 service entry.

Amascos is a suite comprising radar, electronic warfare, communications and tactical systems. The Indonesian navy has fitted nine sets of similar equipment to IPTNNC 212 MPAs and Eurocopter Bo105 helicopters.

• Indonesia will take delivery of four Mil Mi-17-1V helicopters shortly, reports Vremya MN daily newspaper, quoting "a military diplomatic source". A contract for eight Mi-17 helicopters and 12 Sukhoi Su-30 fighters was signed in 1997, but was suspended because of Indonesia's financial collapse. It is unlikely the Su-30 deal will be resurrected in the near term.

Source: Flight International