The Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) is seeking approval from the government to replace its remaining nine Northrop F-5E/F Tiger fighter-bombers with modern Russian-made Sukhoi Su-35s. Chief of the Air Force Vice Marshall Agus Supriatna made his request public to Antara News Agency during a meeting on Wednesday 5 February 2015, confirming earlier rumours.
Indonesia bought 16 F-5s Tiger II aircraft from the United States in 1982. They replaced CAC Sabres – ex-Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) copies of the legendary North American F-86. Although the Tiger IIs were upgraded in Belgium in the 1990s, they have very much become obsolete by now.
The Tentara Nasional Indonesia Angkatan Udara, or TNI–AU, is already operating 5 fairly new Sukhoi Su-27s and 11 Su-30MKs. One of the alternatives was to buy more and newer versions of the Lockheed Martin F-16, of which the Indonesian Air Force already operates 10 A/Bs and five C/Ds. Other options like the Eurofighter Typhoon and the SAAB JAS 39 Gripen were never considered to be serious candidates by experts with insight in the TNI-AUs selection process.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: The Sukhoi Su-35S (Image © Sukhoi Company)