Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro has expressed his belief that the Indonesian military (TNI) will become the biggest force in Southeast Asia in 2014, thanks to its strategic plan to procure main armament systems.
“As per the first phase of strategic plan 2014, we aim to become the largest force in Southeast Asia,” he said when inaugurating two fast combat ships – KRI Pari-849 and KRI Sembilang-850.
The new strength of the Indonesian military would be reflected by the procurement of main armament systems for the Navy, Air Force and Army, he said.
Among the main armament systems the Indonesian military would procure were fast patrol ships for the Navy, leopard tanks for the Army and Sukhoi fighter jets for the Air Force, he said.
“We will replace all Sukhoi fighter jets,” he said.
Indonesia had previously indicated it would buy 130 Leopard tanks from Germany`s Rheinmetall AG as part of a US$15 billion five-year program to modernize its military.
This year it announced plans to buy more than a dozen Russian-made Sukhoi fighter jets as well as domestically made, missile-equipped patrol ships.
Yusgiantoro said strong Indonesian military would be important not only for national security but also for regional security.
He said the modernization of the country`s main armament systems had nothing to do with the presence of US military bases in Singapore and Australia.
“This is not for arms race but for modernization,” he said.
Meanwhile, Naval Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Marsetio said the government was planning to build 16 missile-equipped fast patrol ships and 16 fast patrol ships.