Indonesia Abandons Russian aircraft switching to French or U.S. Aircraft

Indonesia Abandons Russian aircraft switching to French or U.S. Aircraft
Indonesia Abandons Russian aircraft switching to French or U.S. Aircraft

The Indonesian Air Force seeks to modernise its military equipment amid increasing tensions with China over the South China Sea to replace its ageing F-5s. It has reportedly abandoned Sukhoi Su-35 ‘Flanker-E’ fighter aircraft plans to purchase multirole combat aircraft due to an extended acquisition process, switching its direction to Dassault Rafale and Boeing F-15EX Eagle II. The country chose the Russian twin-engine, single-seat fighter in 2015 but never signed a contract for 11 aircraft after talks with Russia in 2018.


Indonesian Air Force Air Chief Marshal Fadjar Prasetyo confirmed the decision speaking to local media during a gathering at Halim Perdanakusuma Air Base near the Indonesian capital Jakarta. According to BenarNews, he stated, “With a heavy heart, yes, we have abandoned the Sukhoi Su-35 plan.” We can’t just keep discussing it.” According to Air Chief Marshal Fadjar Prasetyo, the Southeast Asian country looks for a 4.5-generation medium or heavyweight fighter.

Prasetyo went on to say that the Defence Ministry (MoD) plans to acquire up to three squadrons, each with 12 to 24 jets. If Indonesia chooses the F-15EX, deliveries of the multirole fighter could begin as early as 2027, according to Prasetyo.

Indonesia Abandons Russian aircraft switching to French or U.S. Aircraft

While Indonesia has not explicitly stated this, it is possible that its hesitation in finalising the Su-35 acquisition was motivated by fears that the move would result in U.S. sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). The law, passed by Congress in 2017, is intended to discourage governments or entities from acquiring weapons, military hardware, or parts from American adversaries such as Iran, North Korea, and Russia.

Indonesia had previously expressed interest in purchasing Austria’s second-hand Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets fleet. Due to high costs and a corruption scandal, the European country was forced to leave the service early.


Indonesia Abandons Russian aircraft switching to French or U.S. Aircraft

Following the failure of a multibillion-dollar submarine deal with Australia, France offers Rafale fighters to the Indonesian military to strengthen their strategic partnership.

The offer to provide 36 Rafale aircraft was reportedly discussed during French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian’s two-day visit to Jakarta. However, no final agreement was announced following the meeting.