Indonesia’s plan to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets from French Dassault Aviation might have hit financial roadblocks, reports suggest.
The Asian country has long been eying a suitable fighter jet deal to replace its aging F-5s. And it did make some progress in February when the country’s Defense Minister announced the purchase of 36 Dassault Rafales. However, this might not be so easy for Jakarta yet.
According to media reports, the final contract for Rafales could suffer significant delays due to a lack of clarity over the cost involved. If approved, this would pave the way for another deal with the French government and would keep Dassault factories running for years to come.
In a bid to modernize the Indonesian Air Force, Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto has been visiting various countries looking for a good deal to replace the F-5s. In February, the service finally released a big-ticket list of aircraft it is going to procure in the next four years.
This list included 36 Dassault Rafales, 36 Boeing F-15 Eagle IIs, 15 Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules transports, 2 Airbus A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft, 30 ground-controlled interception radar stations, and three unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in a procurement wish list known as the ‘Blue Book’.
During that month, a delegation of Indonesian Ministry of Defense officials reportedly did the last round of negotiations with Dassault Aviation’s vice-president for business development Jean Claude Piccirillo and vice-president for offset Michael Paskoff.
The negotiations covered offset and financing arrangements, according to Janes, and the ministry since then has raised a request for the program to be funded by foreign loans.
However, a schedule of national projects approved for foreign funding didn’t include the Rafale fighter jets. This new schedule, published by the Indonesian Ministry of National Development Planning was reviewed by Janes that disclosed that the Rafale deal has not been gazetted by Jakarta, and the program might have hit possible financial roadblocks.
French aviation giant Dassault has seen a sudden rise in the acceptance of Rafales after the Indian deal and has already bagged two orders this year (Greece and Egypt). There is also a possibility of Croatia signing a deal this year.
Indonesia’s inclusion of Rafales in its wishlist would make it the fourth customer of Rafale, although no official contract has been signed yet.