A winning combination [ID18D2]

08 November 2018

In order to fulfil a number of identified requirements from the Indonesian air force to either update existing systems or fill capability gaps, Saab (Hall D, Stand 075) is ready to offer its flagship fighter and airborne early warning (AEW) system to the nation, should formal requirements be released by the government.

Indonesia has a noted requirement for a mixed fleet of at least 150 fighters, which is currently comprised of types including the Su-27 and Su-30s, F-16s, and Hawk 200s. In addition, it has 11 examples of the Su-35 on order, although this deal has been clouded with uncertainty as the US government continues to impose sanctions on sales from Russia.

Saab considers the Indonesian market to be a promising one, it said, and is confident its Gripen fighter in either the C/D or E configuration – depending on requirements – could be a welcome addition to this mixed fleet should a formal process begin.

Anders Dahl, head of Saab Indonesia, told the Show Daily the company offers the benefit of technology transfer to customers, which is an appealing prospect for many countries that wish to bolster their own domestic industries via their large-scale acquisitions. “Our solutions are suitable for a country that has budget concerns,” he noted. Indonesia is a country that has a defence budget representing less than 1 per cent of GDP, so the money available with which to acquire these capabilities is relatively limited.

Indonesia is notably missing an AEW capability, and given the scope of the country both in terms of its land and maritime territory, an asset that can carry out air-to-air and air-to- surface surveillance while also conducting battle management operations would be a key capability.

For this, Saab could offer its Saab 2000-based Erieye AEW capability, which Anders said would be a sensible platform for the air force to operate to introduce it to this type of operation.

Should Indonesia eventually elect to operate the Gripen and Erieye, this would somewhat mirror the successful operation of the two capabilities by the Royal Thai Air Force (pictured).

Dahl noted that the current governmental administration in Indonesia has done a lot to try to reform the acquisition system, including setting out legal, ethical and procurement processes that make it easier for companies such as Saab to sell into the country. It already partners with state-owned entities in-country, so could further leverage these to help deliver any new capabilities that Indonesia should choose to acquire from Saab, he added.

(415 words)