Indonesia's purchase of Russian fighters of the Flanker Su-27SK and Su-30MKK families in 2003 and 2007 attracted a lot of attention. Indonesia now intends to expand its fleet of these 10 top-class fighters with more advanced models of its older aircraft by purchasing 24 refurbished F-16 aircraft from the US Air Force.
The F-16 has a complicated history in the Indonesian Air Force (Tentara Nasional Indonesia Angkatan Udara, TNI – AU). Massacres and harassment by the Indonesian army in East Timor led the United States to impose an arms embargo in 1999, which created serious problems in servicing the 12 remaining F-16A / B Block 15s and 16 F-5E / F fighters. The US lifted the embargo in November 2005 and lingering human rights concerns were overshadowed by the needs of the global campaign against Islamic terrorism. In the end, Indonesia wondered what to do with its fighter jet fleet as its economy picks up steam …
The Indonesian Air Force values its Flanker fighters, but ten is not enough to cover its vast territory. Some of the F-16s were returned to service and even took part in the Ausindo exercises with Australia, but they are all very old models, and keeping even older F-5s in combat readiness is becoming more difficult and expensive. The Hawk 209 subsonic jets, which form the backbone of the Indonesian Air Force, are capable of serving as light fighters in a police role, but the Air Force would like more.
Indonesia can solve this problem by purchasing new Russian Su or inexpensive new fighters such as Pakistani and Chinese JF-17 or India's Tejas. The Korean Golden Eagle T-50 was also considered an option and eventually became Indonesia's main trainer. However, to perform complex tasks, the TA-50 option does not quite reach the level of the capabilities that Indonesia would like to see. There is also a development F / A-50, but even with Israeli components in it, it would be difficult to get the necessary aircraft for the Air Force in 2014. The KF-X F-16 fighter jet, which is being developed with South Korea, is slated for 2020 or later, so KF-X will not be able to solve Indonesia's short-term problems.
A solution to the problem was proposed by the Americans: to supplement the existing F-16s with an additional 24 used and repaired US Air Force aircraft. At the 2011 East Asia Summit, Indonesia accepted the offer.
On November 17, 2011, the Defense Cooperation Directorate of the US Department of Defense confirmed Indonesia's official request for 24 US Air Force F-16C / D Block 25 fighters with 28 F100-PW-200 or F100-PW-220E engines. The Pentagon has mentioned improved AN / APG-68 radars, although the radars are not mentioned in the official request. APG-68 radar has better performance and more visibility of the earth and sea surfaces.
The estimated cost of the contract is about $ 750 million. The 339th US Air Force Service Wing at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, will upgrade aircraft and add equipment as needed, while Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, Connecticut will overhaul engines. The proposed transaction will not require the dispatch of any additional US government representatives or contractors to Indonesia.