UPDATED 1 July 2015 | An Indonesian Air Force Lockheed C-130 Hercules has crashed today, 30 June, into a residential area in the city of Medan on the island of Sumatra shortly after take-off from the city’s Polonia airport.
Official sources later indicated the plane had 122 people on board and all perished, along with 20 people on the ground. Images show a burning two or three story building and remnants of the plane wreckage, including part of the centre-wing section and the tail. Adjacent and surrounding buildings are severely damaged. One of the buildings struck is reportedly an hotel.
Eye-witnesses say to local media that the plane was “off-balance” as soon as it lifted from the airfield. This may indicate there was a problem with the balance of its military cargo load or with engine power. Some sources say the plane’s commanding officer requested return to Polonia shortly after it lifted from the runway.
The Indonesian Air Force (Tentara Nasional Indonesia-Angkatan Udara; TNI-AU) has seven older C-130s on strength, plus two KC-130B tanker/transport aircraft. Moreover, the TNI-AU is receiving nine former Royal Australian Air Force C-130H Hercules, which will put the total projected strength at 19 aircraft before today’s crash. The plane that went down today is thought to be an original TNI-AU example.
Hercules of the TNI-AU fly are all based on the island of Java. C-130Hs and a militarized edition of the civilian L100 version of the Herc fly with Skadron Udara (Air Squadron) 17 – tasked with VIP flights – and with Skadron Udara 31 out of Halim Perdanakusuma Airport of Jakarta. More C-130Hs, older C-130Bs and the two KC-130 tankers are flown by crews of Skadron Udara 32 Abdulrachman Saleh Airbase in Malang.
The Indonesian Air Force is only a month away from inducting the next five Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Fighting Falcon jets at Roesmin Nurjadin Airbase in Pekanbaru on the island of Sumatra. With the planned arrival in May, Air Squadron 12 (Skadron Udara 12) of the Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Udara (TNI-AU, or Indonesian Air Force) will be able to offer what it was planned to do: to protect and control the more northern Indonesian airspace and the straight between Sumatra and neighbouring Malaysia and Singapore.
Named the Peace Bima-Sena II deal Indonesia has bought 24 ex-USAF F-16s, updated to Block 52ID and the addition of a drag chute to break quicker on shorter runways.
According to Indonesian sources Pekanbaru will get 16 F-16s, but it isn’t clear to us at Airheadsfly.com yet if that’ll mean 16 of the new 24 or that some of the older F-16A/Bs will head to central Sumatra as well. Other new F-16s are planned to go to Iswahjudi Airbase’s Air Squadron 3 (Skadron Udara 3), which already flies the older A and B models.
The Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) will base a full squadron with new Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons at Roesmin Nurjadin Air Base in Pekanbaru, the TNI-AU Air Force Chief of Staff said Friday 15 November 2013 at the conclusion ceremony of a joint exercise with Singapore.
Pekanbaru is situated only 250 km (156 miles) west of Singapore, in the heart of the Sumatra island. Basing a new fighter unit there will give the Indonesian Air Force (Tentara Nasional Indonesia Angkatan Udara) not only an additional defence asset on this big chunk of land, it will also strengthen possible co-operation with close friends like Singapore and brings the TNI-AU in a more offensive possition against possible future enemies like China.
The TNI-AU move to base a front-line fighter unit in Pekanbaru will give the Air Force a great possibility to control the aerospace and busy sea lanes of the narrow straight between Sumatra and neighbouring Malaysia. According to press agency Antaranews the base commander of Roesmin Nurjadin sees the F-16s also as an asset against remotely piloted vehicles or drones. Between the lines the air base colonel says “China”. According to Antaranews the F-16s should be operational as early as the beginning of 2014.
The TNI-AU operates a mixture of Russian/Western/Asian made jet aircraft, with its sole Fighting Falcon unit (Skadron Udara 3) at Madiun/Iswahyudi AB on Java operating older F-16A/Bs. Pekanbaru is currently home to Skadron Udara 12 flying the Hawk Mk109/Mk209 advanced jet trainer and light combat aircraft.
Indonesia is currently beefing up its defences big time to protect its economic and territorial interests. The Indonesian Air Force is receiving 24 F-16C/D Block 52s, part of a US military support deal to support the huge island nation as its ally. The US has also okay-ed the sale of eight AH-64E Apache attack helicopters. The TNI-AUs Sukhoi Sukhoi fighter force of 16 aircraft reached full strenth in September.
Australia provides its neighbour with nine ex-RAAF C-130s, while South Korea sold 16 T-50i Golden Hawk advanced jet trainers. The Indonesian Navy started operations with the new EADS/PTDI CN235 Persuader in October 2013 and is aiming to get 21 of those aircraft.