Indonesia: Buying $12 Billion Worth of Russian Weapons


September 9, 2007: The government finalized a billion dollar arms purchase from Russia. Easy payment terms (fifteen years) were provided. The Russians are eager to please, as this is expected to be but the first installment of a larger arms deal that could add up to $12 billion or more. This massive sale would give Indonesia dozens of Su-27/30 aircraft and ten Kilo class submarines, as well as armored vehicles, helicopters, warships and a wide array of military equipment. Indonesia has no enemies in the region, although there is some hostility towards Australia (for being richer, more powerful and part of the "West"). The new weapons don't really change the balance of power in the region. It will take years of practice for the Indonesian pilots and sailors to master their new equipment. And that assumes that the government would spend the large amounts of money needed to pay for fuel and spare parts to keep the planes in the air, and the ships at sea, for that training. Meanwhile, Australia already has more advanced subs, and equally capable aircraft. Australia is getting more capable F-35 fighters. But, basically, Indonesian fighters and subs really don't have anyone to fight, which is why it's likely politicians will find other things to do with the money their pilots and sailors want for training.

September 6, 2007: A side effect of the recent massive arms purchase from Russia, are a number of non-military deals. One involves setting up a satellite launching operation in Indonesian Papua. Launching some types of satellites from near the equator is cheaper. Russia will use air launched satellites (a large solid fuel rocket is shoved out the back of a large transport), and the operation will be based at an air port in Papua. Preparations will take about three years.

September 2, 2007: In Aceh, the ruling party tried to use mob violence and other illegal tactics to prevent newly elected officials from an opposition party, from taking power in the southeast. A riot at a swearing in ceremony left 26 injured and twelve arrested. The new provincial government in Aceh is dominated by former separatist rebels, but they are also tempted by traditional, and unsavory, political practices.


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