AgustaWestland’s hopes of selling three VVIP-configured AW101 helicopters to Indonesia appear to have been dashed after the country’s leader Joko Widodo rejected an air force plan for their acquisition.

On 25 November the head of the air force, Air Marshal Agus Supriatna, said the force had selected the UK-built 15.6t rotorcraft for the requirement, noting that there was no Indonesian-built alternative available.

Acquisition of the AW101s for the service’s 45 Sqn was part of its strategic equipment plan for the 2015-19 period, he says.

However, following a 3 December cabinet meeting to discuss defence procurement, Widodo “decided to disapprove a plan to buy the helicopter[s]”, according to reports in local media, quoting cabinet secretary Pramono Anung.

The decision was made because the existing presidential helicopter is still serviceable and the “price is too high” for the AW101s.

However, the president has ordered the procurement of a locally assembled helicopter, or one with significant local content, says the report.