Another success for Dassault: Indonesia orders 42 Rafale jets

Aleksandr Markin / Wikipedia

Indonesia will purchase 42 Dassault Rafale fighter jets, significantly upgrading its air force. 

The Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto and the French Defence Minister Florence Parly signed a contract for the first six jets on February 10, 2022, during their meeting in Jakarta. 

“It’s official: Indonesia ordered 42 Rafales,” Parly announced in a tweet.  

This new export success is excellent news for the thousands of engineers and workers who work on the Rafale.” 

The French defense minister also added that Indonesia intends to buy two Scorpene-class submarines. This decision brings some good news to the French shipbuilding industry, after Australia tore up its $90 billion deal to buy French submarines in September 2021. 

According to Indonesian media, several memorandums of understanding (MOI) were also signed between France and Indonesia regarding cooperation on new MRO facilities, satellites, and ammunition manufacturing. 

Parly also met with the Indonesian president Joko Widodo to discuss further cooperation between the countries, including France’s support for the Indonesian presidency in the G20, as well as the possibility of including Indonesian martial art Pencak Silat into an exhibition program at the 2024 Olympics in Paris, France. 

Indonesia’s purchase of the Rafales continues a recent streak of orders for the French fighter jet. After India started receiving its Rafales in 2020, Greece and Croatia ordered the aircraft in 2021, while Egypt expanded its previous order, and France made an emergency purchase of the newest variant of the jet. Finally, in December 2021, Rafale received its biggest single order to date, as United Arab Emirates signed a deal to procure 80 jets.  

Indonesia has been mulling a large-scale upgrade of its air force for years, considering several options, including the Lockheed Martin F-35 and F-16, among many others. Recently, the competition boiled down to the US-made Boeing F-15EX Eagle II, the Russian-made Sukhoi Su-35, and the Rafale. The Su-35 was dropped from consideration in December 2021, in what was considered Indonesia’s reorientation towards the West. 

Currently, the fighter fleet of the Indonesian Air Force consists of four early models of the F-16 (A, B, C and D), Soviet-era Sukhoi Su-27, its heavily upgraded derivative Su-30, as well as combat-capable Korean KAI T-50 and British Hawk 200 trainers. 

In addition, Indonesia is deeply involved in the development of the Korean KAI KF-21 stealth fighter jet, which is slated to conduct its maiden flight in 2022.  

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