Saab is finalising details of its offer to Indonesia to answer an air force requirement for new multirole fighters. The Indonesian air force (TNI-AU) sent out a request for information to a number of fighter manufacturers last summer, and there are indications that a request for proposal could be issued in the coming weeks.
Under Indonesia’s minimum effective force initiative that envisages the TNI-AU having 200 fighters by 2024, an initial requirement has been drawn up for 16 multirole aircraft to replace the TNI-AU’s ageing Northrop F-5E/Fs. The joint Korean/Indonesian IF-X advanced fighter project is not expected to achieve operating capability until around 2025, and an F-5 replacement is needed before that time.
Saab (Hall D, Stand D052) is responding to the requirement with the Gripen NG, which is currently in development for the Swedish and Brazilian air forces. Brazil signed the contract for 36 Gripen NGs late last month.
Industrial co-operation is a key factor of any proposal, and under Indonesian law at least a 30 per cent direct offset is mandatory. The selection criteria for the new fighter are weighted 30 per cent for aircraft/ system performance, 30 per cent for acquisition and life-cycle costs, and 40 per cent for industrial co-operation. Saab has an excellent track record in delivering on its offset commitments and is able to offer full technology transfer where applicable.
PT Dirgantara Indonesia would be involved on the industrial side in any Gripen deal, and in preparation for an RFP, discussions are currently underway with Saab to establish the nature of what role PTDI might undertake. Indonesia, and PTDI in particular, have long-term ambitions based on raising technical capabilities, and it is likely that PTDI’s involvement would not just mean construction/assembly tasks, but also development work. PTDI is also a partner in the IF-X advanced fighter project, and Saab could help the Indonesian company in some areas of this project, if requested.
From both system performance and cost perspectives, the Gripen NG is highly competitive, and it has the added industrial advantage of being an active development programme, albeit one with a wellproven product as a basis. The aircraft answers all multirole needs, including the anti-ship role, which is likely to figure in Indonesian requirements.
The Gripen is also one of the easiest aircraft to integrate with customer-specified weapons that may come from a variety of international sources.