Prabowo Subianto, the Minister of Defense in a strategic move to enhance Indonesia’s national defense capabilities, has procured 24 F-15EX fighter jets manufactured by Boeing during his visit to the United States.
“We are pleased to announce the acquisition of the F-15EX fighter jets, which are crucial for Indonesia. These advanced fighter aircraft will protect and secure our nation with their state-of-the-art capabilities,” Prabowo stated.
Discussions regarding the F-15 purchase had been underway since last year. In November 2022, Prabowo held talks with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III in Jakarta, reaffirming the country’s intention to proceed with the procurement of these fighter aircraft.
The introduction of the F-15EX adds to the list of defense equipment acquired under Prabowo’s leadership. Previously, the former commander of the Indonesian Special Forces (Kopassus) had ordered Dassault Rafale and Mirage-2000-5 fighter jets.
“We require this deterrent strength for the next three to five years,” Prabowo emphasized.
Manufactured by Boeing, the F-15EX represents the latest iteration within the long-serving F-15 family of aircraft. This fighter is adaptable for various missions, including air superiority, ground attacks, and maritime operations.
The aircraft boasts a payload capacity of 29,500 pounds (approximately 13,380 kg), enabling it to carry a larger assortment of weapons.
Equipped with sophisticated radar systems and avionics, the F-15EX offers high-precision target detection and tracking capabilities. Additionally, the aircraft is equipped with advanced electronic warfare systems to enhance survivability in combat environments.
Furthermore, the F-15EX is designed to seamlessly communicate and operate within a broader battle network, allowing it to collaborate with UAVs, satellites, and other aircraft.
A necessity to modernize defense capabilities
Khairul Fahmi, a military analyst at the Institute for Security and Strategic Studies (ISSES), highlighted that Indonesia’s current air defense situation faces a gap between actual capabilities and the necessity for modern and combat-ready air power.
Fahmi also noted that Indonesia requires an air defense capability that exerts a credible deterrent effect while being capable of multi-mission and multi-role operations.
“The eventual presence of the F-15EX will narrow this gap and significantly enhance Indonesia’s air defense capabilities, alongside the Rafale and other fighter jets,” Fahmi explained.
Fahmi argued that the Minimum Essential Force (MEF) concept is no longer relevant as a benchmark, as it can restrict Indonesia’s strategic flexibility by fixating solely on numerical statistics. He stressed the importance of maintaining a dynamic defense posture.
“A dynamic and sustainable defense posture is essential and should not be organized solely to meet statistical targets,” Fahmi emphasized.
According to Fahmi, Minister Prabowo faces substantial challenges in fulfilling the TNI’s defense equipment requirements. Many existing defense assets are outdated and not combat-ready.
“However, the steps taken so far demonstrate Prabowo’s commitment as the Minister of Defense to address defense capability challenges,” Fahmi concluded.
“The signing of the F-15EX purchase MoU released by Prabowo this morning is, in my opinion, a result of his diplomatic persistence,” Fahmi asserted.