Indonesia and Russia have agreed to a contract for the sale of Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E fighters to Indonesia.
Viktor Kladov, the Director of International Cooperation and Regional Policy at Rostec, a holding company of the Russian defence industry, confirmed the news to Russian News Agency TASS.
Indonesia’s defence minister, Ryamizard Ryacudu, had confirmed that Jakarta was in talks with Moscow for the purchase of eight Su-35s in December. The Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) is seeking to supplant its fleet of legacy Northrop F-5E Tiger II.
The Su-35 is the latest iteration of the Flanker-series. Powered by two 117S turbofan engines, which Sukhoi states provide substantial improvements in thrust over the AL-31F.
Its radar, the Irbis-E passive-electronically scanned-array radar, can detect and track up to 30 targets. It can engage up to eight. Sukhoi claims the Irbis-E can detect 3m2 radar cross-section targets at up to 400 km. The Su-35 uses an all-glass cockpit comprising of multi-function displays, hands-on-throttle-and-stick interface, and an information management system powered by two digital computers.
China became the launch customer of the Su-35 in November 2015 with a purchase of 24 aircraft for $2 billion. The People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) began receiving its Su-35s in December.
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Jakarta set the budget for the program at $1.5 billion U.S. for 16 new aircraft. In addition to the aircraft, vendors were expected to provide commercial offsets and collaborative avenues with the Indonesian defence industry. Saab and Lockheed Martin were also competing for the contract.
The TNI-AU already operates the Su-27 and Su-30 MK/MK2, which gives the TNI-AU familiarity with flying the Flanker-series. However, the Su-35 is a new variant, one comprising of different turbofan engines and onboard subsystems than the TNI-AU’s current Flanker fleet.
The TNI-AU is also inducting 24 refurbished Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Block-25s. Under a $750 million contract, these F-16s were acquired using the Excess Defence Articles (EDA) program and put through an upgrade incorporating subsystems from the F-16C/D Block-50/52+.
Besides near-term acquisitions, the TNI-AU is also setting the groundwork for its long-term needs. In 2016, Jakarta signed onto the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) KFX next-generation fighter, committing to fund 20% of the KFX’s development.