The Indonesian Defense Ministry is set to embark on a multibillion dollar shopping spree to modernize the country’s aging defense equipment in a new 25-year defense procurement plan, a draft presidential regulation reveals. The move comes amid renewed calls to replace old military vehicles out of safety concerns, following the tragic sinking of 44-year-old submarine KRI Nanggala-402 during a military exercise in April, which claimed the lives of all 53 sailors onboard.
The draft regulation was issued recently but requires various approvals from ministries and the House of Representatives before enactment. The investment plan also highlights Indonesia’s continuing dependency on foreign loans. The proposed regulation details the requirement for USD124.9 billion for Indonesian Armed Forces modernisation funding over a period of five ‘strategic plans’ each lasting five years.
From 2010 onwards, military spending in Indonesia was aligned to the Minimum Essential Force (MEF) strategic plan 2010 – 2014 requirements. Under MEF 2010 – 2014 funds of up to Rp150 trillion ($16.41 billion) to spend over 5 years to procure major weapons systems, Rp50 trillion $5.47 billion) will be used to accelerate achieving the Minimum Essential Force, Rp55 trillion ($6.02 billion) for procurement and Rp45 trillion ($4.92 billion) for maintenance and repair.
Subsequent funding would be made available to fund the strategic plans of MEF 2015 – 2019 and MEF 2020 – 2024 in order to achieve the strategic goal of Minimum Essential Force. The first strategic plan runs 2020–24 and coincides with the final phase of the Indonesian Armed Forces’s Minimum Essential Force (MEF) programme, while the last will be 2040–44. But lacking transparency has once again overshadowed the ministry’s plans to bolster Indonesia’s defense system, with military experts flagging possible conflicts of interest.