Indonesia’s premier defence exhibition proceeded unaffected by the ongoing volcanic eruptions of Mount Merapi 430km away. Held every two years, Indo Defence took place from 10-13 November 2010 in the capital Jakarta. For the first time the show was held at the JIExpo Kemayoran complex. This was the fourth iteration of Indo Defence, an event backed by the Indonesian National Armed Forces (Tentara Nasional Indonesia, TNI), and it represented a chance to see what was happening on the local defence scene.
Indo Defence drew 480 exhibitors from 38 countries, including large European and American defence corporations, plus Asia-Pacific ones closer to home. “Indonesia is a vast archipelagic country that needs better defence systems to safeguard its territory,” remarked Defence Minister Purnorno Yusgiantoro. He saw the exhibition as an opportunity to boost modernisation of the TNI, especially through the transfer of technology (ToT). Buoyed by a 13% increase in the FY2011 defence budget, Indonesia is genuinely attempting to modernise its armed forces.
Indigenous state-owned defence industries were well represented, exhibiting domestically produced items such as PT Pindad’s Anoa 6x6 armoured personnel carrier (APC). The Indonesian Army (TNI-AD) previously ordered 154 Pindad APS-3 APCs, and the latest amphibious Anoa 2 vehicle was on display. Another example of how Indonesia’s defence industry is maturing is the R-Han 122 rocket co-developed by the Institute of Aviation and Space Agency (LAPAN). The fruit of six years’ development, the TNI expects to procure 500 R-Han 122 rockets by 2014. This surface-to-surface rocket has a 23km range, and it was exhibited mounted on a Land Rover and a towed trailer.
Another local company present was the shipbuilder PT PAL. It is currently building the fourth 7,300-ton Makassar-class landing platform dock (LPD) vessel for the Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL) under the guidance of Daewoo in South Korea. Naval construction is now a focus for establishing greater self-sufficiency. The National Corvette (PKR) programme signed into existence on 16 August 2010 is a partnership between PT PAL and the Dutch company Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS). This joint venture builds on the success of the Sigma 9113-class corvette programme. The upcoming PKR (Sigma 10514) will be 105m long, have a displacement of 2,400 tonnes, and boast MM40 Exocet Block II missiles and MBDA MICA air defence missiles, as well as Thales Smart-S MK2 radar. The first vessel, featuring 35% local content, should be launched in 2014.
At Indo Defence 2010 a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed to purchase locally built P-100 and P-100L bombs from CV Sari Bahari for use with Sukhoi Su-27 and Su-30 fighters. The Agency for Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) also had home-grown unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) like the BPPT-04C Sriti on display. Meanwhile, the aerospace company PT Dirgintara is presently manufacturing three more CN235-220 maritime patrol aircraft.
Russia had a major presence at the show, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of military cooperation between the two nations. On the first day of Indo Defence, Rosoboronexport signed a USD54 million contract for munitions for the ten Sukhoi Su-27/30 fighters of the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU). Another project creating interest for Russia is Indonesia’s requirement for new trainer jets to replace elderly BAE Hawks. Russia is aligning its Yak-130 advanced trainer for this requirement.
South Korea was another high-profile country at Indo Defence 2010. As well as the LPD project, it is also angling South Korean-built Type 209 submarines for the navy, which wants two diesel-electric boats. South Korea’s main competitor is the Russian Kilo 636. A week before the show, it was announced Doosan DST was providing 22 Black Fox 6x6 vehicles to the TNI-AD. This USD70 million purchase was confirmed by a Doosan spokesman, scotching an erroneous report in Jane’s Defence Weekly that Indonesia was instead buying 22 K21 infantry fighting vehicles (IFV). The turreted Black Fox will sport a Belgian CSE90 90mm gun.
Major progress was made on procuring light attack aircraft to replace the TNI-AU’s aging OV-10F Broncos. An MoU was signed with Embraer in Brazil to buy eight Super Tucano turboprop aircraft, with PT Dirgantara designated as maintenance contractor.
China is another country courting Indonesia’s limited rupiahs, and the TNI-AL will be ordering dozens of C-802 anti-ship missiles for patrol boats and Van-Speijk-class frigates. These could be produced locally, and acquisition of the C-705 is also possible. China is offering J-10 and JF-17 fighters to the TNI-AU too.
European companies were well represented too. Thales Raytheon Systems entered a joint venture with state-owned PT Len Industri for a radar system. Kongsberg of Norway was also marketing anti-ship missiles for the TNI-AL’s PKR programme. Indonesia has a lot of needs, including legacy equipment that requires updating. Despite Indonesia’s strained budget, foreign companies are eager to gain a foothold through methods such as ToT in what could turn into a lucrative long-term market.