DSA 2018: Indonesia seeks new transport aircraft
Marshal Yuyu Sutisna, chief of the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU), revealed plans at a press conference on 7 April to increase his force’s heavy airlift capability. He noted that phase one involves the acquisition of five aircraft.
Indonesian aviation news portal Angkasa Review reported Sutisna as saying the TNI-AU is evaluating three different aircraft types for this portion of the Renstra III 2015-19 strategic plan: the Lockheed Martin C-130J, Antonov and Airbus planes.
Sutisna said the TNI-AU was leaning towards the C-130J, given that it would not have to spend money to establish a new logistics chain or build additional facilities to support the aircraft. This is because the air force already operates earlier C-130 models.
However, he cautioned that no final decision has yet been made.
At the same event, the TNI-AU chief spoke of having a third operational command – Koopsau III – functioning within 2-3 months.
Sutisna stated the reorganisation was made due to the existing Koopsau I and II commands both having vast areas of responsibility. For example, Koopsau I in Jakarta has to cover a third of Indonesia, while Koopsau II in Makassar has too wide an area to cover from the middle of Kalimantan to Papua.
Based in Biak in Papua, Koopsau III will cover eastern Indonesia (encompassing Sulawesi, Papua, Maluku, Nusa Tenggara and Bali). The TNI-AU chief said existing facilities at Manuhua Air Base in Biak were sufficient for Koopsau III, and so the command could be set up quickly without the need to construct additional facilities or support infrastructure.
Airspace sovereignty has always been a priority for Indonesia, but air force patrols and interceptions have been limited in the past due to the number of fighters in its inventory. However, with the completed delivery of 24 F-16s and an order for 11 Su-35s, Indonesia will have more fighters to cover its airspace, thus making a third command more viable.
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