Indonesian state news agency Antara reported that Indonesian Air Force Chief of Staff Marshal Fadjar Prasetyo is preparing special pilots to fly the 4.5 generation Dassault Rafale fighter jets that Indonesia had bought from France. The fighter pilots will receive training in France and Indonesia before being assigned to the existing squadron. Earlier, Defense Minister Prabowo Sugianto signed a cooperation contract for the purchase of six French-made 4.5 generation Dassault Rafale fighter aircraft. In addition to the purchase of the aircraft, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was inked between Dassault and PT Dirgantara Indonesia under which it was agreed to maintain and repair French aircraft in Indonesia.
“We have prepared several pilots, but we have not determined the number. However, we have readied the criteria and those who are eligible to fly the Rafale. the new placement for the jet unit was not easy since several requirements had to be met. This is because placing air units is quite complex. Several requirements must be met,” Prasetyo remarked after the 2022 Indonesian Air Force Leadership Meeting at the Air Force Headquarters in Cilangkap, East Jakarta, Friday.
In January 2020, the Indonesian government expressed some interest in buying up to 48 Rafales to modernize its air force. In February 2021, Indonesia’s Minister of Defense Prabowo Subianto announced that the purchase of 36 units, as part of an ambitious procurement program including A330 tankers and complementary American products, is officially planned and that funds have been secured for its finalization. On 10 February 2022, Dassault Aviation stated that Indonesia has officially signed an order for 42 Rafale F4, concluding two years of negotiations with 6 aircraft for Batch I. The aircraft consists of 30 single-seat and 12 double-seat.
The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. Equipped with a wide range of weapons, the Rafale is intended to perform air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike, and nuclear deterrence missions. France had operated at least 132 Rafale aircraft for the Air Force and 48 units for the French Navy. Several other countries are also keen to use the Rafale as their fighter aircraft, including Egypt by has 24 units; Qatar, 36 units; and India, 36 units.