Tuesday, 23 May 2017 | 19:27 WIB

New Air Force Chief of Staff Gives The Go-Ahead for Replacement of F-5E/F Tiger II

Indonesia's F-5E/F Tiger (FlightGlobal)

JAKARTA, NETRALNEWS.COM - The new Indonesian Air Force Chief of Staff, Air Marshal TNI Hadi Tjahjanto, said he will prioritize transparency when purchasing weapons and military equipment to ensure their safe operation.

"The initial step is to have a transparent purchasing program for weapons and other military equipment. I believe that this can ensure safety and help to avoid accidents," Tjahjanto said on Wednesday.

He added that he will directly monitor the Indonesian Air Force's purchasing process, and that good management of both military equipment and vehicle operation can minimize the probability of accidents.

Tjahjanto also stated that the country's air fleet will be upgraded by 2024 in accordance to the national strategic plan. The obsolete F-5E/F Tiger II jet fighter fleet is included in Tjahjanto's plan and will be replaced with new model of state-of-the-art fighter aircraft.

"According to the strategic plan, we are looking to replace the F5 Tiger after the jets have been grounded for at least a year. The Air Force is still looking for a potential replacement." 

There are several candidates as the replacement of F-5E/F Tiger II, namely JAS39 Gripen (Sweden), Sukhoi Su-35 (Russia), F-16 Block 60 Viper (US), and Eurofighter Typhoon (Airbus-Europe).  It was Saab AB as the manufacturer of JAS39 Gripen who openly and transparently detailed transfer of technology and acquisition scheme from the very beginning.  

He also stated the Air Force will increase its numbers of air defense radars to 32 from the 20 radars currently in service. "We are hoping to be able to cover more area in order to avoid violations of Indonesian air space." 

By implementing good management and improving the Air Force fleet, Tjahjanto believes that a target of zero accidents could be achieved. President Joko Widodo appointed Tjahjanto as the new Air Force Chief of Staff after he previously served as Inspector General of the Defense Ministry. He graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1986.