- Indonesia is studying the Boeing KC-46A, and the Airbus A330 MRTT to improve its aerial refuelling capabilities
- Programme is expected to be the next major logistics aircraft acquisition undertaking after the Airbus A400M
The Indonesian Air Force (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Udara) has begun a study to expand the service’s aerial refuelling capabilities, with a view on establishing a formal acquisition programme for two airframes by 2024, a TNI-AU official told Jane’s on 18 January.
The aircraft types that are being compared in this study are the A330 multirole tanker-transport (MRTT) from Airbus, and what the Indonesians allude to as a militarised version of the Boeing 767 tanker, in reference to the KC-46A Pegasus.
Issues that will be scrutinised in the study include suitability for Indonesian operational requirements, compatibility of refuelling methods with the TNI-AU’s fleet of aircraft, interoperability with existing and future assets, and life-cycle costs.
Also to be considered are possible local and foreign funding options that can be tapped upon, and potential for transfer-of-technology arrangements with local companies such as state-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTD), said the TNI-AU official.
A completion of this study will then pave the way for a definition of programme parameters, and the TNI-AU is expected to launch a formal acquisition programme, and funding request from the Indonesian Ministry of Defence, in the 2020–24 timeframe.
Prior to June 2015, the TNI-AU operated a fleet of two pod-equipped KC-130Bs, which were delivered in the early 1960s. One of these aircraft crashed in Medan on 30 June of that year after developing engine troubles, and since then the TNI-AU has had to rely on a single airframe of the type for its aerial refueling needs. The sole KC-130B is currently stationed with the TNI-AU’s Aviation Squadron 32 at the Abdul Rachman Saleh airbase in Malang.
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