Subject: F-5 fighter bought by Indonesia in 1990s remains in storage

Aerospace Daily & Defense Report

July 8, 2005 Friday

F-5 fighter bought by Indonesia in 1990s remains in storage

William Dennis

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - A F-5 fighter aircraft that Indonesia bought from Israel in the 1990s and sent to California for an upgrade still is in storage because of a U.S.-imposed arms embargo and has racked up more than $1.8 million in storage fees.

The aircraft was caught in the embargo established after Indonesia soldiers shot pro-independence protesters in East Timor in 1991.

Djoko Susilo, an Indonesian government security official in Jakarta who recently returned from Washington, said the upgrade was never completed and Indonesia has been charged $15,000 a month in storage fees.

Djoko said the procurement and planned upgrade were handled by a contractor hired by either Indonesia's Ministry of Defense and Security or its air force. He acknowledged that although the Indonesian government could not see the embargo coming, the contractor should have been held responsible for the decision.

Indonesia's air force said it did not know the contractor's identity but that it was not the contractor's decision that the upgrade work be done in the United States.

An Indonesian air force official who requested anonymity said there was nothing the air force or his government could have done because the United States has refused to lift the arms embargo.

The official said he doesn't know whether Indonesia is willing to fork over more money for the aircraft, which has been grounded for more than 10 years.

- William Dennis (wdennis@tm.net.my)


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