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|Date: 5 September 2011 - Author: LKBN Antara|
|Kulon Progo, Yogyakarta - The Indonesian Air Force is to speed up implementation of its plans to procure essential military hardware until 2014, the force`s chief of staff, Marshal Imam Sufaat, said.|
|He said here on Thursday the Air Force would develop its main weaponry system to the required minimum level as outlined by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.|
"President SBY (Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono) hopes the procurement of main weapons can be accelerated before the end of his term so that when he steps down the TNI is already strong," he said.
He said based on existing plans, the Air Force would expand its fleet with Super Volcanos from Brazil, Golden Eagles from South Korea and Fighting Falcons.
"The US Congress on August 15 meanwhile approved the provision of 30 F-16s to Indonesia, of which 24 would be for security operations and six for contingency situations. This is a G-to-G agreement," he said.
Imam said TNI-AU also would also cooperate again with South Korea for the production of aircraft which is more sophisticated than F-16 from the US.
"Under the cooperation until 2010 Indonesia will get additional 50 units of aircraft which is more sophisticated than the F-16," he said.
He said TNI-AU meanwhile is now also awaiting Hercules aircraft from Australia for dealing with natural disasters such as tsunami and floods.
Imam said many TNI-AU aircraft needed to be replaced because they have been 30 years old on average including Russian Sukhois and US F016s.
"A squadron of aircraft needs to be replaced and unless it is done the cost of maintenance will be too high. Some parts of the planes have even no longer been produced because the plants that produce them have stopped operations," he said.
Imam said that although some of the TNI-AU planes could no longer function maximally TNI-AU could still maximize the use of its war planes to secure the country`s territory.
"We are prioritizing the use of war planes to protect vulnerable regions," he said.
He said many Malaysian planes are still continuing trespassing in the Ambalat disputed waters.
"Malaysian aircraft is still trespassing in Ambalat as there is still no legal certainty with regard to its status," he said.