Friday, March 18, 2016

The U.S. State Department has cleared a sale of advanced air-to-air missiles to Indonesia

The U.S. State Department has recently approved a potential sale of AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs) to Indonesia, according to a news release by the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA).

DSCA is the lead agency within the U.S. Department of Defense responsible for arms sales, training and maintaining military-to-military contacts with allied nations. The sale, which also includes equipment, training, and logistics support, still needs to be approved by the U.S. Congress this month in order for it to proceed.

In detail, the sale includes 36 AIM-120C-7 AMRAAMs and one missile guidance section. “Also included in this possible sale are; control section support equipment, spare parts, services, logistics, technical contractor engineering and technical support, loading adaptors, technical publications, familiarization training, test equipment, and other related elements,” DSCA explains.

The total estimated value of the sale is around $95 million. In May 2015, the State Department approved the sale of AIM-9X-2 Sidewinder missiles to Indonesia for an estimated price of $47 million. In December 2015, the Indonesian parliament signed off on a $38 million budget for the initial purchase of a number of air-launched missiles for the Indonesian Air Force (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Udara, or TNI-AU).

DSCA notes that the prime contractor for the AIM-120C-7 will be selected by competition. The  beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile  is produced by the U.S. defense contractor Raytheon. “There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale,” according to the news release. “The proposed sale improves Indonesia’s capability to deter regional threats and strengthen its homeland defense. Indonesia is able to absorb this additional equipment and support into its armed forces,” it adds.

Indonesia is in the middle of a major push to modernize its air force. The aircraft of the TNI-AU have experienced severe maintenance problems and the military branch in general has had consistent problems with aviation safety.  Next to new missiles, the TNI-AU is also slated to purchase 10 Russian Sukhoi Su-35S multirole fighter jets. The final agreement between Indonesia and Russia is expected to be signed this April.

The first two S-35S aircraft will not be delivered before 2018, according to a source interviewed by the Russian Izvestia newspaper. “Today, a full transition of the enterprise to the production of modern Su-35 is on the agenda. However, this will not affect the queue. The plant is due to produce 50 aircraft for Russia’s Aerospace Forces within five years, and 24 for China. Indonesians could expect to receive two jets in 2018 in a best-case scenario,” the source said.

At the moment, TNI-AU operates 12 F-16A/Bs aircraft, six (some sources say 12) F-5E/F fighter jets, five Russian-made Su-27s and 11 Su-30s, along with 15 Hawk 209 sub-sonic trainer aircraft. By for The Diplomat

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