EARLY this month, Indonesia inked the contract for the final batch of 18 Dassault Rafale fighter aircraft from France, said the Indonesian Defence Ministry. Signed by Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto, delivery for the first of the 18 jets is anticipated to begin in early 2026. “The arrival of the Rafale fighter-jets along with their weapons and support equipment is expected to significantly increase the strength and readiness of the Indonesian Air Force in safeguarding the country’s sovereignty in the air,” the ministry’s spokesman Brig Gen Edwin Adrian Sumantha said in a statement. The deal comes days after the ministry scrapped the purchase of 12 second-hand Mirage 2000-5s from Qatar as a stopgap measure while awaiting the arrival of the remaining Rafales, citing fiscal constraints.
Despite the value of the deal not being disclosed by Indonesia, it was reportedly estimated to be around USD8.1 billion in 2022, citing the French Ministry of Armed Forces. In Sept 2022, Indonesia signed an initial deal for 6 Rafales and another deal for 18 more in August last year. In 2022, the US Department of State greenlit a potential sale of F-15EX jets from Boeing for up to USD13.9 billion. Last November, the country’s defence budget for 2024 was upped by as much as 20% –
from USD20.7 billion to USD25 billion with a majority of the allocation earmarked for procuring major weapons systems from overseas. shp/adj/dl (Pix:Dassault Aviation)