Indonesia reportedly negotiating price of Russian Su-35 fighters

12 December 2016
The Sukhoi Su-35 in flight testing. Source: Sukhoi

Indonesia and Russia are continuing to negotiate the terms of the Indonesian Air Force's (TNI-AU's) procurement of Sukhoi Su-35 'Flanker-E' multirole combat aircraft, Indonesian defence minister Ryamizard Ryacudu has confirmed.

In comments reported by state-owned media agency Antara on 9 December, Ryacudu said the price of the aircraft had proved a stumbling block in the purchase of an initial eight aircraft.

"Just wait. [We] still have to bargain [the price]," he was quoted by Antara as saying. Ryacudu added that as well as price, Indonesia is also pressing Russia over the terms of technology transfer and localised production. "For the moment, [we plan to buy] just eight, and negotiations are underway," he said.

Details about the localised production programme have not been revealed but are unlikely to feature the manufacture or assembly of the whole aircraft unless Indonesia commits to a purchase of a significant number of aircraft. Localised component manufacturing and support are the most likely first phases of collaboration.

In 2015 Ryacudu said the Indonesian Ministry of Defence had selected the Su-35 to replace the TNI-AU's Northrop F-5E Tiger II fighters, which entered TNI-AU service in 1980 and are expected to be withdrawn from service by the end of the decade.

Previously outlining the rationale for the selection of the Su-35, Ryacudu has said that the TNI-AU was "accustomed" to operating Russian fighter aircraft. The service operates a mix of 16 Su-27SK 'Flanker' and Su-30MK2 'Flanker-C' fighter aircraft procured over the past decade.

Most of these aircraft, and other military platforms, were procured through aid and long-term loans provided by Moscow. It is also likely that similar financial mechanisms would support Indonesia's purchase of the Su-35. To that end, Tubagus Hasanuddin, vice-chairman of Indonesian House of Representatives' defence commission, confirmed in September 2015 that Jakarta was discussing with Moscow the terms of a USD3 billion defence loan.

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