MELBOURNE, Australia — Indonesia has committed to buying Boeing-made F-15 Eagle fighter jets and Sikorsky-made Black hawk helicopters.
Air Vice Marshal Yusuf Jauhari, who leads the Defense Facilities Agency within Indonesia’s Defense Ministry, and Mark Sears, who serves as Boeing’s vice president and program manager for fighters, signed a memorandum of understanding on Aug. 21 confirming plans to purchase 24 F-15s. The event took place at Boeing’s St. Louis, Missouri, during a visit by Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto.
Indonesia’s F-15s will be known as the F-15IDN jets and will be a version of the F-15EX, currently on order by the U.S. Air Force. Boeing touts the F-15EX as the most advanced version of the F-15 ever built, with digital fly-by-wire flight controls, a new electronic warfare system, an all-glass digital cockpit, and the latest mission systems and software capabilities.
“We are pleased to announce our commitment to procure the critical F-15EX fighter capability for Indonesia,” Subianto said in a statement on Boeing’s website. “This state-of-the-art fighter will protect and secure our nation with its advanced capabilities.”
The memorandum does not serve as a finalized contract, and the sale is still subject to U.S. government approval.
Meanwhile, Indonesia’s Defense Ministry announced Aug. 23 that the state-owned aerospace company PT Dirgantara Indonesia and the American firm Lockheed Martin signed an agreement related to the S-70M Black Hawk transport helicopter. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of Lockheed.
The agreement will see Indonesia acquire 24 S-70Ms, and PT Dirgantara Indonesia undertake the sustainment and manufacturing of helicopter components.
Indonesia has an ongoing need for new combat aircraft as it seeks to better defend the airspace of its estimated 18,000 islands that stretch from the west of Singapore to the western half of New Guinea. Indonesia already has a contract to buy 24 French-made Dassault Rafale fighters, and is seeking 18 more. The Air Force also cut a deal to acquire 12 Dassault Mirage 2000-5 jets from Qatar as a stopgap measure.
The service is currently operating 33 Lockheed-made F-16s alongside 16 Russian Sukhoi Su-27/30 Flankers as its primary combat fleet, making up 3 different squadrons. This is far short of the Air Force’s minimum essential force of 10 fighter squadrons originally planned for 2024.
Mike Yeo is the Asia correspondent for Defense News.