The Indonesian Air Force (Tentara Nasional Indonesia - Angkatan Udara: TNI-AU) is planning to procure two squadrons of Lockheed Martin's F-16V (Viper) Block 70/72 Fighting Falcon multirole combat aircraft, TNI-AU's Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Yuyu Sutisna, has said.
The procurement is planned to coincide with the third and final phase of the TNI-AU's modernisation programme - called Minimum Essential Force (MEF) - that runs from 2020 until 2024. During this phase, the TNI-AU also plans to finalise its planned procurement of Sukhoi Su-35 fighter aircraft from Russia, ACM Sutisna confirmed.
"We will buy two squadrons in the next strategic plan 2020-24," ACM Sutisna said in comments reported by the state-run Antara news agency. "We will purchase the newest type of Block 72 Viper."
He added, "[The F-16 procurement proposal] is expected to be processed as of 1 January 2020. [The aircraft] will increase our strength. If we have them, we will be among those having sophisticated F-16s."
Commenting on the potential procurement, a spokesperson from Lockheed Martin told Jane's on 5 November, "Lockheed Martin is committed to supporting the Indonesian Air Force and stands ready to support their future defense needs."
Jane's understands that the F-16V has been identified by the TNI-AU as a replacement for its BAE Systems Hawk 109/209 strike aircraft, which have been operational within the service since the mid-1990s. The TNI-AU currently operates about 30 Hawks. The TNI-AU plan to procure two F-16V squadrons would encompass 32 aircraft.
The TNI-AU already operates more than 30 F-16s, 24 of which - in the F-16C/D configuration - were refurbished and upgraded through a USD670 million programme with the United States Air Force. This work was completed in late 2017. The TNI-AU's F-16s are operated by the TNI-AU's Aviation Squadron 16 in Pekanbaru, Riau, and by its Aviation Squadron 3 in Iswahyudi, East Java.
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