Subject: RI May Buy U.S. Jet Fighters

The Jakarta Post

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Indonesia may buy U.S. jet fighters

Top Indonesian and American air force officials met here Friday for talks on bilateral defense cooperation, which may lead to the purchase of U.S.-made F-16 jet fighters and Hercules personnel carrier.

The Indonesian Air Force said in a press release Air Force chief Vice Marshal Subandrio received United States Under Secretary of the Air Force for International Affairs Bruce S. Lemkin for a meeting aimed at efforts to boost cooperation on the procurement of new defense equipment for Indonesia, particularly combat and personnel carrier planes.

We'll consider purchases for the 2010-2014 period," Air Rear Marshall Soenaryo said as quoted by Antara.

He said the latest version of F-16 jet fighters was a necessary replacement for the Air Force's aging fleet. He said the Air Force would be able to save maintenance fees allocated between 2008-2019 by having the new jet fighters.

Financial constraints have prevented Indonesia from modernizing its defense equipment, a condition exacerbated by the U.S. decision to put an arms sales ban on Indonesia in 1999 due to its poor human rights record.

Washington partially lifted the ban, allowing sales of personnel carrier planes to Indonesia after the 2004 tsunami that killed more than 150,000 people in Aceh and Nias.

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