US greenlights sale of F-15 jets to Asian nation — Analysis

The US State Department has said that aiding Indonesia’s security efforts is “vital” to America’s national interests

Jakarta requested to purchase up to 36 F-15ID fighter planes, as well as related aircraft engines, such as munitions, according to the US State Department in a Thursday statement. The total estimated cost of the deal was $13.9 billion.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of an important regional partner that is a force for political stability, and economic progress in the Asia-Pacific region,”According to the statement, it was also stated that it is “vital to U.S. national interests to assist Indonesia in developing and maintaining a strong and effective self-defense capability.”

The statement made no mention of China, although the US is continuously ramping up support in the region to oppose Beijing’s maneuvers in the disputed South China Sea. Indonesia is home to the ASEAN headquarters. This was where some ASEAN members, including the Philippines, clashed with China in South China Sea territorial disputes.

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The prospective sale was also announced during Blinken’s visit to Australia, which also particularly aims to demonstrate the US determination to oppose China’s ambitions in the Pacific. It comes following the mid-December Indonesian visit by Antony Blinken (Secretary of State). At that time, America’s top diplomat hailed close ties between the two nations.

The US has repeatedly delayed arms sales to Indonesia in response to concerns about human rights. Previous arms deals to Indonesia were frequently under scrutiny. The Thursday statement did not mention this matter.

Jakarta appears to want to improve its ageing air fleet. On Thursday, Jakarta also said it planned to purchase 42 Rafale fighter aircrafts from France under an $8.1billion deal.

The plans that also saw Indonesia mulling a purchase of two Scorpene diesel-electric attack submarines were revealed by the French defense ministry following a meeting between Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto and France’s Defense Minister Florence Parly in Jakarta. Two ministers already had signed contracts for the six Rafale Jets.

Existing Indonesian Air Force relies heavily on Sukhoi Su-27/Su-30 aircrafts and the F-16, both made in America.

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