The Indonesian Ministry of Defence (MoD) is considering replacing the national air force's F-5 Tiger fighter aircraft with the latest generation of jet fighters, the country's Defence Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro has revealed.
Yusgiantoro was quoted by ANTARA News as saying that the ministry has already received proposals from five to six jet fighter manufacturers for replacement of the ageing Northrop Grumman-built fighter aircraft.
''We are in the process of evaluating which jet fighter will best suit our requirements, whether the aircraft is from Russia, USA or other countries," Yusgiantoro said.
Urging Indonesian Air Force officials to quickly select the replacement aircraft to facilitate inclusion of the requisition plan in Indonesia's Strategic Plan II 2015 to 2020, the defence minister noted, "I hope the finalised next-generation jet fighter is capable of carrying long-range missiles."
Indonesian military commander general Moeldoko said the air force has carried out a study on the Russian Sukhoi Su-35, the US F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon, in addition to the Swedish JAS 39 Gripen fighters.
"We are still evaluating the options. It depends on Indonesias financial position," Moeldoko said.
Indonesian Air Force chief of staff marshall Ida Bagus Putu Dunia said the service is planning to have a squadron of 16 new jet fighters to replace the F-5 Tiger.
"We will follow the strategic plan. We will also revise the decision in line with the command of the Indonesian Military Commander and Defense Minister as well as taking into consideration the state finances," Ida said.
Powered by two General Electric J85-GE-21B turbojet engines, the F-5 is a single-seat, supersonic fighter aircraft designed to conduct air-to-ground and air-to-air operations.
Indonesia currently operates 11 F-5E/F fighters for a range of combat missions.
The aircraft are also in use with the air forces of Austria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Taiwan, Ethiopia, Greece, Jordan, Malaysia, Spain, Thailand and the US.
Image: A USAF's F-5 Tiger fighter aircraft in flight. Photo: courtesy of Stahlkocher.