7 August 2015

BAE Offer to Assemble Eurofighter Typhoon in Indonesia

Eurofighter is holding out the possibility of Indonesia assembling the Typhoon if the Southeast Asian nation acquires the fighter in an anticipated upcoming competition.
The four-nation consortium is beating the drum for a possible Typhoon sale on its first official appearance at the Indo Defence show, which opens in the capital Jakarta Wednesday.
In a statement ahead of the show opening, Alberto Gutierrez, Eurofighter’s CEO, said the consortium is ready to work as needed with the Indonesian aerospace industry on developing indigenous capability but in the shorter term the company is willing to discuss ways in which intermediate requirements are met.
Gutierrez said there had “already been a number of useful meetings” between interested parties but it was “too early” to go into detail.
A spokesman for Eurofighter said final assembly of Typhoon jets by the Indonesian aerospace industry was one longer term possibility in any deal between the two sides.
The Eurofighter consortium of Airbus Defence and Space, Alenia Aermacchi and BAE Systems produces Typhoons for the core partners Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain, and has secured export orders in Austria, Oman and Saudi Arabia.
Eurofighter and other fighter builders responded to a request for information issued by the Indonesian government in January for a fighter to replace the F-5s currently in service with the Air Force. Saab with the Gripen also responded.
Indonesia operates a mix of F-5s, F-16s, Su-27s, Su-30s and Hawk jets.
Sweden’s Saab issued a statement in September saying that with Jakarta spending about 1 percent of its gross domestic product on defense, it “would be looking at an aircraft that is affordable, superior and have low operational cost. All these make the Gripen an ideal solution for Indonesia.”
One industry source said nothing much has happened since the RFIs were returned.
“I’m not even taking a breath let alone holding it waiting for the Indonesians to progress this requirement; it could take four or five years,” he said, in response to a question about a possible purchase timeline.
Doug Barrie, the senior air analyst at the International Institute of Strategic Studies think tank in London, expressed a similar view.
“Indonesia has admirable ambitions to modernize its Air Force but whether they can sustain that interest to a point where they can be realized is a considerable question.”
Across the Straits of Malacca, Indonesia’s neighbour, Malaysia, is also looking to update its fighter fleet on a tight budget and has turned to possible leasing of jets to meet medium-term requirements.
Eurofighter, Saab, Boeing and possibly others have all been encouraged to submit lease proposals to the Malaysians in the last 12 months.
Saab sealed a $5.4 billion deal with Brazil in late October to supply 36 Gripen NG fighters and is conducting discussions for lease of an earlier version of the jet as an interim capability upgrade.
The company has already leased Gripen jets to other customers.
Indonesia is promising to raise defense spending to modernize the military and despite tough overall budget conditions has recently purchased armored vehicles, warships, air defense missiles and other equipment, in part as a response to increasing equipment acquisitions by other nations in the region.

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