JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto has drawn flak for his plan to purchase 15 Eurofighter Typhoon multipurpose fighter aircraft from Austria. Kompas.com first disclosed the plan on Tuesday, July 22.
House Commission I on Defense, Foreign Affairs and Information chairperson Meutya Hafid said the plan took her by surprise.
“Prabowo has not discussed the purchase with us,” said the former TV anchor. “I only heard [about plans to purchase the Typhoon] from media reports.”
She added that Commission I has yet to discuss the purchase as they are still discussing Covid-19 and its effect on the 2021 budget.
“I urge Prabowo to consider the purchase carefully instead of hastily going through with it,” she said.
“Although there are no specific laws or other regulations on purchasing military equipment, the government should prioritize technology transfer, especially in buying spare parts. After all, we still have fighters like the Sukhoi [Su-27 and Su-30] as well as F16s.”
Human rights watchdog Imparsial is more scathing about the purchase of Eurofighter Typhoons.
“We call on Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto to cancel the purchase of the Eurofighter Typhoons from the Austrian Air Force because of their dubious safety record,” said Imparsial Director Al Araf in a written statement to Kompas.com.
“Carrying out the purchase would put Indonesian servicemen at risk and repeat a past mistake, namely the lack of accountability in the defense budget. The purchase of the Typhoons are also at risk of misuse because of a lack of standardized prices.”
“Imparsial supports the modernization of the Indonesian military’s equipment and spare parts as long as they are done in an accountable, transparent manner that takes the Indonesian military’s budget and needs into account.”
Al Araf based his assessment of the Indonesian military’s inadequate spare parts on a Transparency International survey titled ‘Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index 2015.’
“The survey showed that the risk for financial wrongdoing in the Indonesian defense sector is as high as countries like Namibia, Kenya and Bangladesh.”
Defense Ministry spokesman Djoko Purwanto declined to comment, as did Prabowo’s personal spokesman Dahnil Simanjuntak.
Prabowo has written a letter to his Austrian counterpart Klaudia Tanner on July 10 expressing his wish to buy the Eurofighter Typhoons.
The Austrian Air Force operate the Typhoons since mid-2008. The planes have been plagued by budgetary limits that constrained their flying time to 80 flying hours instead of the intended 110 hours.
Indonesia's armed forces are often plagued by aging equipment and spare parts. The most recent evidence of this was a crash of a Hawk 209 trainer/fighter bomber in Riau last June. No casualties were reported in the incident.
(Writers : Haryanti Puspa Sari, Achmad Nasrudin Yahya | Editors: Diamanty Meiliana, Fabian Januarius Kuwado)
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