Jakarta: The Indonesian Air Force (TNI AU) plans to acquire in stages two squadrons of F-16 Block 72 Viper fighter jets from Lockheed Martin until 2024.
"God Willing, we will buy two squadrons in the next strategic plan 2020-2024. We will purchase the newest type of Block 72 Viper," Air Force Chief of Staff Marshal Yuyu Sutisna stated at the Roesmin Nurjadin Airbase in Pekanbaru, the capital of Riau Province, on Monday, October 28, 2019
The Air Force leader noted that Indonesia currently relies on F-16, the highly preferred fighter jets in the world. In total, the country has 33 F-16 Fighting Falcons that have, until now, been one of the main weaponry of the Air Force. The fighter jets are stationed at squadron 16 of the Roesmin Nurjadin Airbase in Pekanbaru, Riau Province, and squadron 3 of Iswahjudi Airbase in Madiun, East Java.
According to him, Indonesia will continue to rely on F-16s by purchasing Block 72 Viper to safeguard the Indonesian air space.
"It (the proposal for the purchase of F-16 Block 72 Viper) is expected to be processed as of January 1, 2020, so they (F-16 Block 72 Viper) will increase our strength. If we have them, we will be among those having sophisticated F-16s," he stated.
The air force chief of staff pointed to the presence of over three thousand F-16s worldwide. The use of the US-made fighter jets has contributed success to military operations. F-16 Block 72 Viper is the newest version of F-16 and the most sophisticated version that Lockheed Martin has ever produced.
"The fact that several countries use them, and their number is large means they have very good reliability," he remarked.
In addition, The Air Force also plans to buy Russian-made Sukhoi 35 fighter jets in the next five years. (Antara)