Indonesia buys 6 Rafale fighters, agrees to purchase 36 more


Rafale fighters of the Egyptian Air Force. Photo c/o Egypt Independent.

Indonesia is set to order up to 42 Rafale 4.5-generation fighter aircraft from France, according to French Defense Minister Florence Parly.

Min. Parly is currently in Indonesia, signing several defense agreements with her Indonesian counterparts including the sale of Rafale fighter aircrafts made by French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation.

In a report by Indonesian state-owned media outlet Antara News, Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto has also confirmed that a contract has been signed for the acquisition of a first batch of 6 Rafale fighter aircraft, with 36 more to follow.

This would make Indonesia the second Asian country to order the aircraft after India, and gives France a foothold in the Southeast Asian region as it markets its Rafale fighter aircraft to several other countries.

The new fighter aircraft are expected to help increase the fighter fleet of the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU), as it plans to have more air combat units to meet current and future regional security threats. 

Currently the TNI-AU has a fleet of Russian-made Sukhoi Su-27 and Su-30 Flanker large fighters, and American Lockheed Martin F-16A/B/C/D Fighting Falcon fighters. Aside from the Rafale, Indonesia is also looking at potentially procuring the Boeing F-15EX Eagle II, and is participating in the development of the KFX/IFX fighter with South Korea.

Aside from the Rafale order, Indonesia also signed an agreement to engage in cooperation with France on submarine development, ammunition manufacturing, and on procurement of space satellites.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has expressed his approval of the deals with France, and hoped that these are not just focused on purchases, but also in joint development and production, technology transfer and investment in the Indonesian defense industry.

Paris has been expanding its geopolitical ties with countries in the Indo-Pacific region after declining relations with Australia, the US and UK, which it believes to have backstabbed its ally France when the 3 countries created a new strategic alliance called AUKUS.

The creation of AUKUS also meant the cancellation of a controversial multi-billion dollar submarine deal between France and Australia in favor of a new nuclear submarine program with assistance from the US and UK.

[1] Reuters
[2] Channel News Asia
[3] France24
Indonesia buys 6 Rafale fighters, agrees to purchase 36 more Indonesia buys 6 Rafale fighters, agrees to purchase 36 more Reviewed by Asia Pacific Defense Journal on February 10, 2022 Rating: 5

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