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Indonesian Air Force Cleared to Source Foreign Loans for AEW&C Programme

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Indonesian Air Force Cleared to Source Foreign Loans for AEW&C Programme

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Saab 2000 Erieye AEW&C Airborne Surveillance Order
Saab 2000 Erieye AEW&C Airborne Surveillance Order

The Indonesian Ministry of Finance (MoF) has approved plans for the country to acquire two new airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft, with loans sourced from a foreign lender. The Indonesian Air Force is currently not equipped with any form of AEW&C capabilities. Global open-source intelligence company Janes reported that the approval means that the Indonesian Ministry of Defence (MoD) can now formally begin the process of evaluating suitable aircraft types and sources for a foreign lender to fund the programme. Documents provided to Janes indicate that the ceiling approved for the loan programme is USD800 million, and it should cover the delivery of two aircrafts.

Boasting one of the fastest growing economies in the world is allowing Indonesia to invest much-needed funds in its military. After years of stagnation caused by the 1997 financial crisis, leading to most of Indonesia’s military acquisition programs being cancelled, the situation deteriorated further when the U.S. imposed an arms embargo in 1999 that lasted until 2005. With some 17,000 islands making up the world’s largest archipelago, Indonesia needs to maintain a modern airborne maritime surveillance fleet in a bid to confront increasing threats from pirates, smugglers and terrorists. This led the Indonesian Air Force to order another much needed CASA CN 235 (now Airbus C235) maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) in 2012, with a Telephonics system and Star Safire HDI FLIR turret.

Airbus C295 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft
Airbus C295 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft. (Photo by Airbus Defence and Space)

The Indonesian Air Force has a long-standing requirement for at least four AEW&C aircraft and is known to have shown interest in various aircraft types that can be converted for this purpose, including the Airbus C295. The Airbus C295 is a medium tactical transport aircraft that was designed and initially manufactured by the Spanish aerospace company CASA. Work on what would become the C-295 was started during the 1990s as a derivative of the successful CASA/IPTN CN-235 transport aircraft. The C-295 has also been designed to facilitate multi-role operations and has been produced in a wide range of configurations. When appropriately furnished, the C-295 can conduct electronic signals intelligence (ELINT), medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), and maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) duties.

The AEW&C aircraft procurement is in addition to the list of 16 programmes for the year, for which permission to take on foreign loans has been granted by the Indonesian Ministry of Finance, provided the formal contracts are signed with the MoD by 31 December 2023. Airbus Defence and Space, a leader in multi-mission aircraft, and IAI/ELTA, a leader in advanced Airborne Early Warning Systems present the new C295 AEW&C. The C-295 AEW&C is an airborne early warning and control version with EL/W-2090 360 degree radar dome. The AESA radar was developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and has an integrated IFF (Identification friend or foe) system. Saab’s AEW&C offering, which incorporates the Saab 2000 Erieye system. Indonesia has obtained approval to seek foreign loans for its AEW&C programme and is considering the Erieye system as one of its candidates.

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