Jakarta. The government plans to procure five new Lockheed C-130 Hercules military transportation aircraft to modernize its aging fleet.
"[We are] not [buying] many of them; five aircraft are enough," Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said at his office in Jakarta on Tuesday (05/06).
No details are currently available of the contract value or timeline for the planned purchase of the four-engine turboprop aircraft, produced by Lockheed Martin in the United States.
Ryamizard said the Indonesian Air Force's existing Hercules fleet is aging, with most of the aircraft having been grants from other countries decades ago.
The minister said the government wants Indonesia to start producing its own aircraft, but that the country currently lacks the capacity. The government therefore aims to obtain a technology transfer with the planned purchase, so that the country can start building its own aircraft in the near future.
"We [already] build our own tanks and meanwhile, by purchasing [these aircraft], we can strengthen our friendship, especially in defense and technology transfer [with other countries]," Ryamizard said.
The government embarked on a drive to modernize its military fleet after a Hercules C-130B crashed in a densely populated part of Medan, North Sumatra, in 2015, killing 122 people, including 30 on board.
Another Hercules C-130 crashed into Pugima Mountain in Papua on Dec. 18, 2016, killing 13 people on board. The aircraft, which carried 13 tons of cement and rice from Timika to Wamena, crashed after the pilot allegedly insisted on landing despite poor weather conditions.
Last year, the government reportedly expressed interest in the purchase of five Airbus A400M Atlas transportation aircraft from the European manufacturer for $2 billion. However, in March this year the Indonesian Air Force announced that it would only acquire two.