TNI-AU's Fighter Fleet Gets a Mega Upgrade! With Rafale, F-15EX, Su-30, KF-21 in Kitty and Super Hercules

TNI-AU's Fighter Fleet Gets a Mega Upgrade! With Rafale, F-15EX, Su-30, KF-21 in Kitty and Super Hercules

Indonesia is modernizing its defense capabilities with the fifth Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Super Hercules. The country is also acquiring advanced fighter jets, including the Rafale from France, the F-15EX from the United States, the KF-21 from Korea, and possibly the Su-35 from Russia.

An aircraft with the serial number A-1342 landed at Halim Perdanakusuma Air Base in Jakarta on May 16, according to the Indonesian Ministry of Defense. This delivery is part of a plan to receive four aircraft by October 2023 and a final aircraft in January 2024. The first three aircraft - A-1339, A-1340 and A-1343 - arrived in March, June and August 2023, while A-1344 arrived in January 2024.

These five aircraft will join Squadron 31 at Halim Perdanakusuma, which already operates several older C-130 models. The Indonesian Air Force (TNI AU) has operated C-130s since the 1960s, including nine C-130Hs from Australia. 

The arrival of the C-130J-30 Super Hercules is a significant upgrade for Indonesia, which is frequently hit by natural disasters. With increased cargo capacity, speed and range, these aircraft will enhance the TNI AU ability to respond quickly to emergencies and reach remote areas. It will also strengthen strategic airlift capabilities for disaster relief and military logistics.

Progress in Modernizing the Indonesian Air Force

Indonesia has pursued strategic partnerships to bolster its defense with cutting-edge aircraft technology. One such partnership is an $8.1 billion deal with France's Dassault Aviation for 42 Rafale fighter jets. That deal, signed in 2022, calls for delivery of the first three Rafales in January 2026.

In addition to the Rafale, Indonesia signed a memorandum of understanding with Boeing last year to purchase 24 F-15EX or F-15IDN fighter jets in a deal valued at $13.9 billion. Boeing's F-15EX is considered the most advanced variant, offering superior performance and capabilities, including digital fly-by-wire flight controls and advanced mission systems.

Indonesia is also involved in the development of the KF-21 fighter jet in cooperation with South Korea, although financial issues have led to discussions about reassessing its financial commitment.

In recent developments, Indonesia's Ambassador to Russia, Jose Tavares, stated that the Su-35 fighter jet deal with Russia is still under consideration, pending a more favorable situation that could mitigate the risk of U.S. sanctions.

If the deal goes through, it will add a new dimension to Indonesia's fighter jet capabilities, making it a formidable fighting force with a diverse fleet that includes Rafale, F-15 and Su-35 jets.

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