Indonesia to seek foreign loan to procure two new aerial tankers

The Airbus A330 MRTT, one of those being considered by the TNI-AU for its aerial tanker requirements. Photo c/o Airbus.

The Indonesian Government has approved the planned acquisition of two aerial refuelling tankers for the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU), which would be procured via foreign loan financing.

The project is expected to cost around US$700 million.

The Indonesian Ministry of Finance (MOF) has released on 26 April 2021, a list of 31 projects from the Ministry of Defence (MOD), which includes the aerial refuelling tankers, that were approved for financing through foreign loans.

The TNI-AU has previously made its own study, looking at the Boeing KC-46A Pegasus, Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), and the Ilyushin Il-78 aerial tanker.

According to British defense media outlet Jane’s, the TNI-AU has appointed GMF AeroAsia, a subsidiary of Indonesian national airline Garuda Indonesia, to provide an in-depth study on the aerial refuelling requirements for the air arm.

Among those included in the study were the aerial refuelling tanker’s life cycle costs, local capability to maintain the aircraft, refuelling methods based on the TNI-AU’s current and future fleet of aircraft, and interoperability within the TNI-AU.

The study was completed in 2019, with the findings recommending  for the procurement of an aerial refuelling tanker with both the flying boom and probe-and-drogue method.

It also recommended that the new aerial tankers would be powered by jet engines.

The TNI-AU currently operate 1 Lockheed KC-130B Hercules aerial refuelling tankers using the  probe-and-drogue aerial refuelling method, and the airframes may need replacement due to age, as the C-130B aircraft platform were acquired in 1961 and converted to aerial refuelling tankers in the mid 1980s. Another KC-130B was lost in an accident in 2015.

[1] Jane’s

[2] Scramble Magazine

[3] Asia Pacific Defense Journal

Indonesia to seek foreign loan to procure two new aerial tankers  Indonesia to seek foreign loan to procure two new aerial tankers Reviewed by Asia Pacific Defense Journal on June 22, 2021 Rating: 5

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