Indonesia signs deal for 24 Boeing F-15EX fighter jets

Neither Indonesia's defence ministry nor Boeing provided the value of the sale, but Boeing said it is still subject to US government approval.

A. Muh. Ibnu Aqil

A. Muh. Ibnu Aqil

The Jakarta Post


Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto (centre) poses on August 21, 2023, during a tour of the Boeing F-15EX production line at Boeing's facility in St. Louis, Missouri, the United States. PHOTO: AFP/ BOEING/ THE JAKARTA POST

August 23, 2023

JAKARTA – Indonesia has signed a commitment finalizing the sale of 24 new F-15EX fighter jets from United States aircraft manufacturer Boeing in a bid to modernize its aging fleet, the Defense Ministry said.

Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto visited St. Louis, Missouri on Monday to witness the signing of a memorandum of understanding between an official from his office and Boeing Fighters Vice President and program manager Mark Sears after touring the F-15EX production facility.

Neither the ministry nor Boeing provided the value of the sale, but Boeing said it is still subject to US government approval.

“We are pleased to announce our commitment to procure the critical F-15EX fighter capability for Indonesia,” said Prabowo who witnessed the MoU signing, as quoted from a statement on Boeing’s website. “This state-of-the-art fighter will protect and secure our nation with its advanced capabilities.”

The F-15EX purchased by Indonesia will be given a special code name: F-15IDN, the ministry said.

Read also: Indonesia, Boeing sign deal for sale of F-15 fighter jets

According to Boeing, the F-15EX is the most advanced version of the F-15 fighter jet, which currently is operated by seven countries. The F-15EX is equipped with digital fly-by-wire flight controls, a new electronic warfare system, an all-glass digital cockpit and the latest mission systems and software capabilities.

“We have invested years of expertise into developing the F-15EX capabilities. There is no other fighter like the F-15 in the world, and this platform will put Indonesia at the top of air dominance capabilities,” Sears said, according to Boeing’s statement.

“Boeing is ready to support this effort and remains a committed partner to the US government in advancing international security objectives with allies and partners around the world,” he added.

Read also: Indonesia’s purchase of US fighter jets remains in negotiation

The commitment signing in Missouri came after Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin visited Jakarta in November of last year for negotiations over the deal. Prabowo said at the time that the F-15 purchase plan had entered an advanced stage pending approval from the government.

Previously, in February of last year, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), an agency under the US Department of Defense, announced the possible sale of the F-15EX and related equipment to Indonesia in a deal valued at up to US$13.9 billion.

The announcement was made just hours after Indonesia and France signed a purchase agreement for the first six of a total of 42 Rafale jets in a contract worth $8.1 billion.

Indonesia has long been seeking to replace its aging air fleet, mainly consisting of United States-made F-5 Tiger jets, British-made Hawk 109/209 jets and Sukhoi Su-27 and Su-30 jets from Russia. Since Prabowo assumed the defense minister position in 2019, the government has been on a major defense spending spree.

Read also: Indonesia continues spending spree with French-made jets, military radars

The latest deal was made in January of this year, when the Defense Ministry purchased 12 used Mirage 2000-5 jets worth US$792 million from the Qatari armed forces, which some analysts have criticized as being outdated. But Prabowo has defended the decision saying that it was a stop-gap measure to prepare for the arrival of brand-new Rafale jets that Indonesia expects to receive in 2026.

Last month, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo warned the Defense Ministry, the National Police and the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) against wasteful spending especially in the procurement of weapons systems from overseas. Responding to this instruction, Defense Ministry spokesperson Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak said that Prabowo had been prudent in using the defense budget and that all its spending and any planned purchases were aimed at strengthening the national defense force, particularly by overhauling its aging air fleet.

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