|Subject: Indonesian Air Force Undeterred By
The Jakarta Post
Monday, November 19, 2007
Air Force undeterred by embargo, shortage
Desy Nurhayati, The Jakarta Post, Tanjung Pandan, Bangka Belitung Islands
Despite being crippled by a prolonged embargo by Western countries and short of funds, the Air Force has been able to sharpen its combat skills with current military equipment.
The Fire Power Demo 2007 held Saturday at the Buding air weapon range in Tanjung Pandan, Belitung Island proved just that when Air Force pilots and troops accomplished their assigned missions.
A sequence of demonstrations, including bombing and rocketing of dummy targets and a simulation hostage release, were performed by Air Force personnel using 16 fighter and attack aircraft, 13 transport aircraft and 7 helicopters.
The event was observed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono, National Police chief Gen. Sutanto, the Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Marshall Djoko Suyanto, as well as chiefs of staff of TNI's three branches.
Also present were National Police chief Gen. Sutanto and chairman of the House of Representatives' Commission I overseeing defense commission Theo L. Sambuaga.
Yudhoyono gave praise to the Air Force for skills and readiness to defend the country.
"The demonstration showed that the Air Force has excellent combat skills, and that they're ready to safeguard our country," he said after the demonstration.
"Soldiers have to be always ready to face a battle against any threats to our country.
"Thus, they should keep training and develop their skills in line with our budgetary ability, and without neglecting other important needs, such as health, education and people's welfare."
He said that even though the country wasn't likely to face a war -- since regional and global cooperation has provided peaceful solutions to potential conflicts -- the military should continue to improve their alertness.
The 40-minute demonstration was kicked off by a Boeing 737-200 Surveiller aircraft performing a pass at a speed of 250 knots at 1,000 feet above ground level on a reconnaissance mission.
That drill was followed by 13 battle controller team paratroopers who jumped from a Fokker F-27 Troopship to infiltrate a mock battle field.
A string of bombs and rockets were then released from three F-5E Tigers, four Hawk 109/209s and two F-16 Falcons, as the jet fighters swooped down to destroy dummy targets: enemy radar units, missiles, aircraft and buildings. All targets were demolished completely.
The next action featured six C-130s Hercules that dropped two squads of the Air Force Special Forces from 1,500 feet, a CN-235 that dropped a base controller team, and another C-130 Hercules dropping a pack of logistics using a Container Delivery System.
Another two Hawk 109/209s then fired a number of rockets and did an air refueling sequence with a KC-130 tanker.
The next action was a deployment of SAR combat squads and a Bravo Detachment that climbed down from NAS-330 and NAS-332 helicopters to release two hostages from "enemy" territory.
The demonstration was ended by pummeling that area with munitions after the "hostages" had been released and all "enemies" crippled.
This year's demonstration was the second such event; the first, in 2005, was attended by then-president Megawati Soekarnoputri.