Indonesia’s Defense minister used some Harsh words in describing the intent behind the deployment of F-16’s to the Natuna Island. He said that they were deploying them to protect themselves against “thieves”, few weeks after Chinese coast guard vessels clashed an Indonesian Vessel that captured one of the illegal Chinese Vessels in the area.
“Natuna is a door, if the door is not guarded then thieves will come inside,” said Ryacudu, a former army chief of staff. “There has been all this fuss because until now it has not been guarded. This is about the respect of the country.”
The minister also said he was considering introducing military conscription in Natuna and other remote areas of the 17,000-island archipelago, “so if something happens people won’t be afraid and know what to do.”
Aaron Connelly, a research fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney, questioned if stationing F-16s in the Natuna area would act as much of a deterrent or be of use combating illegal fishing.
“It looks like a show of force, but it’s a meaningless one,” he said. “Indonesia has diplomatic cards to play but it doesn’t have military ones. It’s not going to scare away the Chinese military by putting a few F-16s on Natuna. These are items that can’t be reasonably used to survey maritime activities.”
Defense minister Ryacudu stated that they hoped the deal with Russia could be finalized soon to purchase 8-10 Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter Jets. He stated that initially they were considering buying more F-16’s from Lockheed, but we are sure after the disastrous performance of the F-35 and the incredible performance of the Su-35, Indonesia wisely changed its mind. Additionally, the Su-35 is far cheaper, just as agile (if not more) and cheaper to maintain. Russia’s superior performance in Syria has garnered it a lot of new customers.
When asked if Indonesia would buy more F-16’s, he said ” no“no, we have enough already.”
“We will buy from Europe and America, from Russia also,” he said. “We don’t prioritize. The important thing is if we need them, and the research backs it up, we will buy. We are replacing old planes, not adding new ones.” Full Story
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