STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT. Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto has signed a contract to buy aircraft and combat ships to bolster Indonesian defense system. The government has ordered five C-130J Super Hercules A-1339 aircraft and one of them arrived at Halim Perdana Kusuma Air Force Base on Monday. The government has authorized Indonesia to import 42 Rafale fighter jets worth $4.1 billion.
The government also intends to buy 12 used Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets from the Royal Qatar Air Force. According to reports, Indonesia is also interested in purchasing armed drones from the Turkish defense firm Baykar.
The Defense Ministry and Fincantieri have also reached an agreement to buy Italian-built warships. Additionally, PT PAL and the Naval Group have a memorandum of understanding for the purchase of two Scorpene submarines with AIP (air-independent propulsion), as well as weapons, spare parts, and training, for Indonesia. Indonesia also has ordered two Airbus A400 M transport planes.
Air Force Chief of Staff (KSAU) Marshal Fadjar Prasetyo said that the United States’ C-130J Super Hercules A-1339 and C-130H Super Hercules A-1315 aircraft are the pride of the Indonesian Air Force because Indonesia is the first Southeast Asian country to obtain these Super Hercules aircraft.
According to him, Indonesia ordered five of the same type of aircraft from the United States. The other three new aircraft, he said, will arrive in Indonesia in stages and will all be stationed at Squadron 31 Halim Perdanakusuma Air Force Base in East Jakarta.
After welcoming the Super Hercules aircraft at Halim Perdanakusuma Air Base, Indonesian Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff Air Marshal A. Gustaf Brugman said that 48 personnel would be sent to Lockheed Martin, United States, for training to operate the new C-130 J-30 Super Hercules A-1339 aircraft.
The newly arrived aircraft in Indonesia differs from the previous type. Twelve personnel will participate in pilot training, six in loadmaster training, and 30 in maintenance crew training covering airframe, propulsion, electrical, and avionics.
On Friday, 6,000 U.S. troops participated in Asia’s largest annual military exercise, named Cobra Gold, with Thai and South Korean troops on a beach in Thailand.
Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan are also taking part in this joint exercise that consists of air, ground, and sea drills, as well as jungle survival courses.
“While we all speak different languages, we are united by common bonds in pursuing a free and open Indo-Pacific, which is the essence of Cobra Gold,” said U.S. Marine Captain Jonathan Coronel.
China’s government is increasingly convinced it can only make itself the pre-eminent power in Asia, and a major power globally, by diminishing American influence, the top U.S. intelligence official said Wednesday.
The goal of weakening U.S. power and influence is one reason China has continued to pursue a deepening partnership with Russia, according to an annual intelligence threat assessment that was also released.
China’s new Foreign Minister Qin Gang warned that “conflict and confrontation” with the United States is inevitable if Washington does not change course, delivering a stern and wide-ranging rebuke of US policies for his first press conference in the new role.
Qin, who was until recently China’s ambassador to the US, built up a reputation for being careful and accomplished diplomat while overseas.
But he struck a far more combative tone in his first appearance as foreign minister at China’s annual parliamentary meeting, warning of the “catastrophic consequences” of what he described as a “reckless gamble” by Washington in how it treats its fellow superpower.
Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen has convinced US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to meet in California rather than Taipei to avoid an aggressive Chinese military response, as tensions run high between Beijing and Washington.
Several people familiar with the situation said Tsai and McCarthy had agreed to meet in the US because of Taiwanese security concerns. The California Republican had said last summer he wanted to visit the country if elected to the top leadership post in the House.
The venue change comes as the US steps up contingency planning for the region — one of the world’s most dangerous flashpoints — and highlights the impact of China’s military posturing to constrain Taiwan and undermine its de facto independence.