The USA will sell Indonesia eight Boeing AH-64E Apache Longbow helicopters in a deal worth $500 million.

The deal was announced at a joint press conference in Jakarta between US defence secretary Chuck Hagel and Indonesian defence minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro, according to a US Department of Defense statement.

"Providing Indonesia these world-class helicopters is an example of our commitment to help build Indonesia's military capability," said Hagel.

He said the helicopters will assist in dealing with "a range of contingencies, including counterpiracy operations and maritime awareness".

As part of the deal, Indonesian pilots and support crews will receive training from the US military. Details of delivery and training are still being ironed out.

In September 2012, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified congress that Jakarta was seeking eight Apaches in the US Army's new Block III configuration, with the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) deal to include four APG-78 Longbow fire control radars. The sale would also cover the supply of further equipment and services, including an armaments package to include 120 Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles.

At the time, the DSCA valued the deal at $1.4 billion. Given FMS conventions, this value likely included elements such as weapons and long-term, complete lifecycle support for the helicopters.

In recent years, Jakarta has greatly enhanced its ground attack capabilities. When the Apaches arrive, they will complement the 16 Embraer EMB-314 Super Tucano light attack aircraft that Indonesia is in the process of introducing to its air force.

Indonesia has suffered periodic insurgencies in provinces such as Aceh and West Papua, creating a niche for counter-insurgency aircraft in the nation's air force.

Source: Flight International