Indonesia close to signing Rafale contract: French media

French aircraft Rafale lands during the inauguration of the 12th edition of AERO India 2019 air show at Yelahanka airbase in Bengaluru on February 20. (AP Photo). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

JAKARTA/PARIS, May 20, 2021, DefenseWorld. Indonesia could become the latest customer for the French Rafale fighters with an agreement expected to be signed soon, DefenseWorld reported.

The contract is awaiting Indonesian presidential acceptance to route money from the Ministry of Defense account to buy the jets, LA Tribune reported today.

Indonesian Air Force plans to buy at least 36 Rafales. During a visit to Paris in October 2020, Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto reiterated his keen interest in the Dassault Aviation fighter plane.

The two countries have initiated a strategic dialogue this year with the objective of quickly signing a cooperation agreement in the field of defense.

Indonesia recently turned down an offer from the U.S. to buy F-16 jets after the U.S. declined to sell it F-35 fighters. Besides, its deal to buy 12 Su-35 jets from Russia is in cold storage since 2018.

Dassault is on a roll with a recent order from Egypt and Greece to buy Rafale jets and on-going contracts with India and Qatar. The company might be ok to a parts-manufacturing eco-system which Indonesia is said to be proposing.

According to reports, Jakarta’s wish list also includes eight Boeing F-15s, Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft, three Airbus A330 tankers for aerial refuelling and six MQ-1 Predator drones.

Faced with budgetary constraints, Indonesia could follow the Egyptian model of having the jets part-financed by a consortium of French banks. In the case of the now-in-cold-storage Su-35 deal with Russia it had proposed paying for it through part cash, part finance and part barter trade.

What Indonesia is looking most at is to become a part of the Rafale supply chain, a deal which may prove profitable as a parts suipplier to the growing tribe of Rafale customers. It has made transfer of technology and licence-manufacture a cornerstone of its arms procurement policy.

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