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Updated January 3rd, 2024 at 19:34 IST

Indonesia delays buying used fighter jets, citing fiscal limits

Criticism from lawmakers arose due to concerns about the age of the Mirage planes.

Reported by: Business Desk
Indonesia
Indonesia | Image:Pexels Photo
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The Indonesian government, represented by the defence minister's spokesperson, Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak, has officially postponed the acquisition of 12 Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets that were previously in use by Qatar. This delay stems from the country's limited fiscal capacity, as clarified during a recent panel interview. Dahnil cited decisions made jointly by the defence and finance ministries for this postponement, highlighting the current inability to financially support such a substantial purchase. Instead, the military will prioritise retrofitting its existing Sukhoi and F16 aircraft.

Delayed acquisition

Indonesia had initially struck a deal with a unit of Czech defence company Czechoslovak Group (CSG) to procure these 12 Mirage jets in January 2023, valued at 733 million euros ($801.68 million), according to statements from the defence ministry in the previous year. The intention behind acquiring these secondhand jets was to use them while awaiting the delivery of some of the 42 Rafale fighter jets purchased by Jakarta in 2022 for $8.1 billion.

Criticism from lawmakers arose due to concerns about the age of the Mirage planes, prompting scrutiny of the purchase plan.

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Despite President Joko Widodo's approval of a 20 per cent increase in defence spending until 2024, aiming to reach $25 billion for upgrading military hardware, the decision to delay the Mirage purchase was finalised.

Ahead of the forthcoming presidential elections in February, Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto, a prominent candidate, has been overseeing the military's efforts to modernise its ageing fleet. These efforts include procuring 12 new drones from Turkish Aerospace, along with fighter jets and transport helicopters from US companies Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

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(with Reuters inputs)

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Published January 3rd, 2024 at 19:34 IST

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