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Published On: Sun, May 15th, 2016

Indonesia to Upgrade Air Force with Russian SU-35 Jets

nsnbc : Indonesia plans to modernize its Air Force by acquiring SU-35 jets from Russia. The decision to opt for the SU-35 is in part based on the fact that Indonesia has a fleet of earlier Sukhoi models in its air fleet. Indonesia also supplies its Navy with 12 submarines, as the country adapts to emerging security challenges in the region.

SU-35_Sukhoi_RussiaIndonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu told the press that the decision to purchase Sukhoi SU-35 jets was part of efforts to keep the country’s air force technologically up to date and because Indonesia had bought earlier Sukhoi models in the past.

The Defense Minister added that the purchase of the SU-35 jets from Russia also was linked to the purpose of technology sustainability because Indonesia has previously bought the SU-27 and the SU-30.

Ryamizard noted that the SU-35 would complete the country’s fleet of warplanes to defend the territorial integrity of Indonesia. He added that Indonesia’s relations with Russia are as good as its relations with the United States China, and others. The purchase of the SU-35 didn’t reflect any “special relationship” he added.

The SU-35 is a multi-role flanker, fighter that is capable of air to air, air to ground and air to sea operations. Sukhoi designates the SU-35 as a multi-role fighter that has undergone a sustained evolution since 1992. New versions are widely regarded as more than capable of competing with the American F-22 and the problem-riddled F-35.

Surabaya_Indonesia_Ship Building_2016It is expected that Indonesian President Joko Widodo will witness the signing of the contract during his planned visit to Russia during the upcoming ASEAN – Russia summit.

Facing Emerging Challenges

The acquisition of SU-35s for the air force coincides with an upgrade of Indonesia’s naval forces with 12 new submarines. The submarines are built in cooperation with South Korea.

Indonesia aims at maintaining a neutral and independent policy in cooperation with all regional and international partners, at playing a greater role in creating regional stability, and in maintaining national security in the light of perceived, emerging potential as well as actual threats.

Masela Gas Block, Indonesia. Courtesy

Masela Gas Block, Indonesia. Courtesy

Indonesia is increasingly developing into an international hub for drug traffickers, including Colombian drug cartels. Indonesia is also facing increased challenges due to domestic and international terrorism as well as piracy.

While Indonesia maintains a neutral position with regard to e.g. the territorial disputes in the South China Sea and on the intra-Korean tensions, its national security and economy depends on the safety of international waterways.

The majority of gas from the Masela gas block, for example, will be exported to Japan.

Several Indonesian security and defense experts, including Connie Rahakundini Bakrie, noted that the development of the Masela gas block, located at Indonesia’s maritime border with Australia, could increase the risk of a proxy war against Indonesia.

CH/L – nsnbc 15.05.2016

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