Jakarta has approved a USD $2 billion purchase of five Airbus Defence and Space (DS) A400M Atlas multi-role transport aircraft for the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU), IHS Jane’s reports.
Indonesia expressed its interest in the A400M on numerous occasions, such as in May 2016 when its Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu stated that plans were in place for a “small number” of A400Ms.
Besides the requisite maintenance and logistics package, IHS Jane’s adds that this Atlas purchase will also involve Indonesia’s state-owned defence vendor – PT Dirgantara – in fitting out the final three aircraft.
The A400M was developed by a consortium comprising of Britain, France, Germany, Turkey, Belgium, and Luxembourg. One of Indonesia’s neighbours, Malaysia, is also operating the A400M.
With a cargo payload of 37 tons, the A400M sits in between the C-130 medium-lift transport and C-17 heavy-lift transport platforms. Besides transport, Airbus DS has also positioned the A400M as an in-flight refuelling tanker, showcasing its ability to aerially refuel fast-jets and helicopters.
IHS Jane’s credits the A400M purchase as a “significant step in the Indonesian Air Force’s modernization efforts.” The TNI-AU is also seeking new multi-role fighters to replace its legacy Northrop F-5E Tiger IIs. In December 2016, Defence Minister Ryacudu reportedly told local media that talks were underway for the Su-35 Flanker-E from Russia.