Indonesia Finalizes Acquisition of 42 Dassault Rafales with Third and Final Tranche

Jakarta may have had to juggle funds for the third Rafale tranche amid plans to acquire second-hand Mirage jets, Boeing F-15EX, and participate in the South Korean KF-21 program.
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  • 04:00 AM, January 9, 2024
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Indonesia Finalizes Acquisition of 42 Dassault Rafales with Third and Final Tranche
Rafale fighter @Dassault Aviation

Dassault Aviation has officially confirmed that Indonesia's government has greenlit the third and final batch of its planned acquisition of a total 42 Dassault Rafale fighter jets.

The announcement, made by Dassault Aviation on January 8, marks the culmination of a defense contract signed in February 2022.

The final tranche, consisting of 18 Rafale fighter jets, came into effect today, following the entry into force of the first batch of six jets in September 2022 and the second batch of 18 in August 2023. This completes the total number of aircraft ordered by Indonesia under the 2022 contract.

Indonesia's Air Force strategically divided the delivery of the Rafale aircraft into three tranches, receiving eight fighters in September 2022, 18 in August 2023, and now the final eight supersonic jets.

Financial Struggles in Securing Funds for Fighter Aircraft

However, Jakarta may have faced challenges in securing funds for the third Rafale tranche, potentially juggling with claims from other arms programs. The confirmation of the third tranche comes at a time when the Indonesian government is dealing with a backlash over its previous decision to purchase 12 second-hand Mirage 2000-5 fighters from Qatar.

The agreement, signed with a Czech company in January and valued at $800 million, faced delays due to financial constraints, leading to the postponement of the acquisition. The used Mirage jets from Qatar are expected to arrive two years after the signing of the contract. The Mirage jets have served as a short-term solution, enabling Indonesian pilots to familiarize themselves with French concepts of operations until they receive the Rafale in January 2026.

The acquisition of Rafale fighter jets not only enhances Indonesia's air defense capabilities but also allows the Indonesian Air Force to reduce its reliance on Russian-built Sukhoi Su-27 and Su-30 fighters, which currently form part of the fighter fleet alongside U.S.-built F-16s, British Hawks, and South Korean KAI T-50s.

In addition to the Rafale acquisition, the Indonesian Air Force has expressed interest in acquiring 24 Boeing F-15EX fighters and related weapons, with an estimated value of around $10 billion, according to reports.

Indonesia, a minor partner in South Korea's KF-21 Boramae fighter program since 2016, had agreed to shoulder 1.3 trillion won ($958 million), approximately 20% of the project costs. This participation entails the Southeast Asian country receiving a prototype of the fighter jet and technical support for the local production of 48 units in Indonesia. However, Jakarta has faced challenges, having paid only about 280 billion won, leaving a significant amount overdue.

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