Indonesia agrees with France for the purchase of 42 Rafale planes

Indonesia has signed a contract for 6 Rafales in an expected total order of 42 fighter jets, Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto announced on Thursday.

“We have agreed to purchase 42 Rafales”, with “a contract signed (Thursday) for the first six”, he indicated after a meeting with his French counterpart Florence Parly in Jakarta.

New links with Indonesia

Southeast Asia’s largest country has never previously acquired French fighter jets, but is seeking to diversify its alliances and military equipment suppliers amid rising Asia Pacific tensions between China and the United States.

France, for its part, is seeking to strengthen ties with Indonesia after seeing its strategy for asserting itself in the Asia-Pacific shaken last year by the sudden termination by Australia of a mega-contract to purchase French submarines and the announcement of the AUKUS strategic alliance between this country, the United States and the United Kingdom. “Indonesia’s choice is one of sovereignty and technical excellence, with an aircraft that has demonstrated its operational capabilities on numerous occasions,” Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly told journalists.

A previous canceled contract with Russia

Indonesia has aging equipment, mainly American F-16s and Russian Su-27 and Su-30 Sukhoi, and is in negotiations with multiple partners to renew its combat aircraft. Especially since a contract that Indonesia had signed in 2018 for the purchase of eleven Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets from Russia never materialized, due to the American Caatsa law which provides for sanctions. automatically when a country enters into a “significant transaction” with the Russian arms industry.

The French and Indonesian defense ministers had signed a defense cooperation agreement in 2021 in Paris and negotiations on the acquisition of Rafale had been underway for several months on financing and compensation.

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A prosperous year for Dassault

Jakarta is also negotiating the purchase of around 30 American F-15 fighter jets, according to the media, and is participating in a research and development project with South Korea for the KF-21 fighter jet.

Dassault had a boom year in 2021 with 18 aircraft sold to Greece (including twelve used), 30 to Egypt and 12 second-hand to Croatia and a record order of 80 aircraft for the United Arab Emirates.

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