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Old 13th September 2014, 11:43 AM   #95
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Default Indonesia Muscles Up Its Military

Indonesia Muscles Up Its Military

Indonesia invests heavily in modernization

Sep 15, 2014
Nicholas Fiorenza | Aviation Week & Space Technology - Defense

A version of this article appears in the September 15 issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology.

Indonesia’s December 2012 contract with German defense contractor Rheinmetall for armored vehicles is an important component of the nation’s wide-ranging military modernization program, which involves acquisition of equipment from several countries.

Under the €216 million ($283 million) contract, Rheinmetall is supplying Indonesia with armored vehicles, training equipment and logistical support as well as practice and service ammunition. Deliveries are scheduled from 2014-16.

The vehicles include 103 Leopard 2 main battle tanks, 42 Marder (Marten) 1A3 armored infantry fighting vehicles (AIFV), three Bueffel (Buffalo) and two Leopard 1 armored recovery vehicles, three Biber (Beaver) armored vehicle-launched bridges and three Dachs (Badger) armored engineering vehicles.

Indonesia is buying over 100 Leopard 2 tanks from Rheinmetall similar to the 2A4s shown here in Jakarta. Credit: Rheinmetall

Under its current military doctrine, the country seeks to protect independence and preserve national unity through homeland defense and maintaining the regional balance of power.

The doctrine foresees increasing the military’s combat capabilities and participation in international missions of the United Nations and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Indonesia has participated in U.N. peacekeeping missions in the Middle East and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Some of the new Leopard 2 tanks will be used for training for such missions.

The German armor will increase the firepower of an army that is equipped with 275 French AMX-13 and 120 British Scorpion light tanks, and 236 locally built Panser Anoa 6 X 6 armored personnel carriers, which were manufactured by state-owned PT Pindad. Indonesia’s neighbors are equipped with newer, heavier tanks: Thailand fields 49 T-84 Oplot M versions from Ukraine; Malaysia operates 64 PT91 vehicles from Poland; and Singapore is equipped with 101 Leopard 2 SNG versions from Germany.

Rheinmetall is upgrading 61 of the tanks on order to the Leopard 2 RI (Republic of Indonesia) standard. This includes new electric and turret drives and cabling, and improved turret protection against large-caliber kinetic energy rounds, rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank guided missiles. Air conditioning with dehumidification is part of the package (Indonesia is, of course, a tropical country).

[COLOR=red !important]The remaining 42 Leopard 2A4+ tanks are only receiving air conditioning (the Marders, however, are not).

Jakarta’s military upgrades include Marder 1A3 armored infantry fighting vehicles. Credit: RheinmetallThe contract includes Rheinmetall’s DM11 120-
mm multipurpose high-explosive tank rounds, making Indonesia the second user of this ammunition; the U.S. Marine Corps is the first.

The Indonesian modernization program runs from 2015-29, and foresees a “minimum essential force” for all three services. In addition to the Leopard 2 main battle tanks and Marder AIFVs, army acquisitions includes the Caesar truck-mounted 155-mm howitzer from Nexter Systems of France, Astros II multiple-launch rocket system from Avibras of Brazil, and Boeing Apache Longbow and Sikorsky Black Hawk helicopters.

Air force acquisitions include Russian Sukhoi Su-30 combat aircraft, KAI T-50 and Super Tucano light attack aircraft/trainers from, respectively, South Korea and Brazil, and Grob 120TP trainers from Germany.

The navy is acquiring frigates transferred from Brunei, and Eurocopter AS565 Panther antisubmarine-warfare helicopters.

The Rheinmetall armor contract took two months of negotiations (Sept. 9-Nov. 11, 2012) and then nearly a year before legal formalities were completed and it became effective. [COLOR=red !important]Negotiations were impeded by a restrictive German arms-export policy, which ultimately resulted in the Leopard 2 tanks being supplied without coaxial machine guns because small arms export licenses were difficult to obtain.

[COLOR=red !important]A Rheinmetall program manager, Michael Kerwin, is not sure if future deals with Indonesia will receive German export approval, but says they hope to sell more Marders to the country. The company plans to bring the Wiesel 2 armored vehicle to the Indodefense trade show in Jakarta this November after a deal to produce it in Indonesia fell through because the export license arrived late. [/COLOR]

Last month, PT Pindad and Rheinmetall signed a memorandum of understanding to produce large-caliber munitions at the former’s facility in Turen, East Java. [/COLOR]
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