Wednesday, May 29, 2024

French Rafale make stopover in Indonesia for Pegase 2023 mission

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Gusty da Costa


Mahinda Arkyasa



French Air Force and Space’s Pegase 23 Mission is making a stopover in Jakarta’s Halim Perdana Kusuma Air Base in an effort to strengthen the alliance and promote the superiority of the country’s fighter jets Rafale, A400 MTT tanker aircraft, and transport plane.

Lieutenant Colonel Henri, Head of Pegase 23 Mission in Indonesia said that Pegase 23 is part of the French military strategy in which the French armed force is regularly conducting deployment operations of force and power projection. The 2023 mission will last from June 25th to August 3 with 20 aircraft deployed from the French to its Pacific territory.

“The stopover in Jakarta has three strategic objectives including three angles of air diplomacy such as partnership strategy, access point strategy, and strategy of balance. The operation also demonstrates renewed ambition for cooperation especially with Indonesia and greater regional integration, said Henri on July 26,2023.
For France Air Force and Space, this mission offers the opportunity to strengthen support during their stopover in Indonesia and also  EU, Singapore, Malaysia, Qatar, and Djibouti. For this mission, French dispatched 20 of its military aircraft.

Three phases of the Pegase 32 mission

The Pegase 23 mission consists of three phases. In the first phase which lasted from June 25 to June 28, the mission involved a simultaneous power projection to Malaysia and Singapore. The aim of the mission is to test the capacity of the French Air Force to reach Indo-Pacific regions in a short period of time.

The second phase lasted from July 2 to July 21.  French Air Force and Space participated also in the largest military exercise Talisman Sabre and Mobility Guardian in Guam Pacific with the US military, UK military, Australia, New Zealand and other countries.

The third part of the mission started from July 24 to August 3. It is a flight back home with several stops over in some countries including Indonesia. For the first time, French Air Force and Space also make stopovers in South Korea and Japan.

Henri said in an Indonesia stop over, French Air Force and Space bring two Rafale fighter jets, one A300 MTT tanker transport and one A 400 M Airbus military transport.
Rafale was first used in 2006 . Since that time, Rafele has absorbed new technology and evolution.It has been upgraded with long-range air to air missiles and targeting munition.

The A300 MTT tanker transport called Phoenix is one of the important assets of Pegase 23 because it makes it possible for French Air Force to make long-distance power projections. ” The versatility of its equipment and performance is proven,” he added.

Henri added  A300 MTT tanker transport can have three roles including air-to-air refueling, strategic transport for passengers, and air medical and evacuation missions.

While the last asset is A 400 M Airbus military transport that can carry almost all equipment and the needs of the French Air Force and Space.

Promotion of Rafale

Spokesman of Indonesia’s Air Force First Marshal  Agung Sasongkojati said the stopover of French Air Force and Space assets at Halim Perdanakusuma air base is a goodwill of Indonesia air force to help the promotion and exhibition of French tanker, transport aircraft and jet fighter Rafale.

“Rafale is the mainstay of NATO and the proud of French. It has sophisticated technology and this is their opportunity to introduce the fighter jets that we purchase, “said Sasongkojati.As a member of NATO, French Rafale has almost similar technology with the US fighter jets. Despite that, French develops its own weapons system.
On February 10, 2022, French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly announced on Twitter that Indonesia had ordered 42 Rafale jet fighters from France. In addition, two Scorpene submarines made in France were also identified.

Indonesian defense ministry had announced on the same day that it had signed a cooperation agreement with French company Dassault to purchase 6 Rafale jet fighters. The statement did not mention another 36 Rafale fighter jets and two Scorpene submarines. It is possible that 42 fighter jets could become part of a long-term contract in the future.

In addition to purchasing six fighter jets and two submarines, PT PAL also signed an agreement with Naval to establish a joint research and development center for submarines.
However, Sasongkojati said he does not know the schedule of the purchase and shipment of the Rafale fighter jets. ” It is the defense ministry who knows the schedule and the purchase, we the air force as is only the user. ” he added.

Defense analyst Connie Rahakundini Bakrie said purchasing French jet fighters showed that Indonesia was supporting the US and AUKUS (Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States).

By aligning its weaponry system with the US and NATO, Indonesia has taken a position as part of the US block alliance in rivalry with China in the Indo Pacific and South China Sea issue.

“The purchase of F-16 and Rafale clearly shows that in foreign policy we support US and NATO policy,” she said.

Sasongkojati refused to comment on the Indonesia ‘s closer move to the Western block in the purchase of Rafale fighter jets.

Gusty da Costa


Mahinda Arkyasa




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