Indonesia's parliament is investigating the purchase of four Sukhoi fighters and two Mil helicopters from Russia.

President Megawati Sukarnoputri has been accused by politicians of bypassing normal procedures in not seeking defence ministry and parliamentary approval before signing the deal in April. The parliament last week tasked a committee to determine if there was any wrongdoing.

Industry officials say the probe is politically driven and is unlikely to jeopardise the contract. Megawati is seeking re-election next year.

The inquiry could slow delivery of the aircraft, which was to begin late this year, and potential follow-on purchases in eastern Europe. Last week Indonesia sent a delegation to Poland to evaluate PZL Sokol helicopters and the PZL M28 Skytruck.

Indonesia is paying for two Sukhoi Su-27SKs, two Su-30MKs and two Mil Mi-35 Hinds, together worth $193 million, mostly by providing Russia with local commodities. Indonesia has made a downpayment covering about one-seventh of the deal. Some politicians have criticised Megawati for using the government logistics agency Bulog to provide the payment.

Source: Flight International