Indonesia drops Su-35 from fighter jet tender, Rafale and F-15 remain

The Indonesian government announced that it has removed the Sukhoi Su-35 from the competition to secure the country’s new heavy or medium fighter jet. 

The choice now lies between the French Dassault Rafale and the US-made Boeing F-15EX Eagle II.  

The decision was announced by Indonesian Air Chief Marshal Fadjar Prasetyo, Defense News reports. The Russian jet was excluded “with a heavy heart”. 

Indonesia has been considering the purchase of 11 Su-35s since 2015, but the deal has not progressed. Meanwhile, the country has examined several other options, including the Lockheed Martin F-35A, the F-16V, and the ex-Austrian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon. 

However, recently the selection was narrowed down to the Dassault Rafale, for which Indonesia signed a letter of intent in June 2021, and the F-15EX, the latest model of the long-serving American heavy fighter. 

Previous reports have suggested that Indonesia could acquire both the Rafale and the F-15. However, Prasetyo’s statement reveals that the country will only acquire one of the aircraft.  

Indonesia’s latest fighter jet acquisition program has been marred by budgetary concerns. This is the same problem that plagued the country’s involvement in the development of the KAI KF-21 Boramae, a joint production with South Korea. 

The Indonesian Air Force currently operates a colorful collection of American F-16 fighter jets of A, B, C and D models, a Russian Sukhoi Su-27 and Su-30, a South Korean KAI T-50, and a British Hawk 200 light combat aircraft. 

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