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Russia rebuts claims that Indonesia has dropped Su-35 fighter procurement plans

The Indonesian Air Force’s (Tentara Nasional Indonesia-Angkatan Udara: TNI-AU’s) planned procurement of Sukhoi Su-35 ‘Flanker-E’ multirole combat aircraft from Russia is still “active”, Dmitry Shugayev, the director of Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSVTS), said on 16 March, denying media reports that Jakarta, under US pressure, has dropped a deal to buy 11 of the Russian-made fighters.

Moscow said on 16 March that Indonesia’s planned procurement of Russian-made Su-35 fighter aircraft is “still active”.

“There is no official cancellation of the [Indonesian] order [for the Su-35s],” Shugayev told the Russia 24 news channel. “We haven’t received any papers regarding the issue and haven’t been told about it.”

Shugayev said Indonesia is still interested in acquiring the Su-35s, adding, “We hope that the contract will be implemented.” No further details were provided.

Bloomberg had quoted an unnamed official “familiar with the matter” on 12 March as saying that Jakarta had recently decided against moving ahead with the plan to procure the 11 fighter aircraft for about USD1.1 billion.

The official was also quoted as saying that, as recently as February, Washington had also pressured Indonesia into walking away from talks with China to procure several naval patrol vessels for about USD200 million, adding that the moves “illustrate how the US is having some success – at times by using financial and economic levers – in deterring countries from dealing with Russia and China, which the [Donald] Trump administration has identified as the biggest threats to US national security”.

Jane’s reported in November 2019 that Indonesia’s procurement of the Su-35s had stalled due to several factors, including the Indonesian presidential election held in April of that year, funding and countertrade issues, and concerns in Jakarta about US legislation – notably the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) – under which Washington seeks to penalise defence customers of Russia

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