Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Military modernization and priority amidst arsenal explosion

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Chief of the Indonesian Military (TNI) General TNI Agus Subiyanto recently inspected at the site of an Army arsenal explosion in Ciangsana Village, Bogor Regency, West Java.  

The explosion came amidst Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto’s initiatives to modernize Indonesia’s defense systems, a crucial move aimed at enhancing the country’s defense capabilities in the face of evolving threats. 

The urgent need for continued modernization efforts ensures Indonesia’s readiness to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

General Agus’s visit aimed to assess the aftermath of the explosion and ensure that the resulting fire could be effectively controlled. The TNI chief said that the fire had been successfully contained since early Sunday morning, March 31, 2024.

General Agus added that Acting Governor of West Java, Bey Machmudin, would collaborate in managing the aftermath of the ammunition warehouse fire. 

“In case of any losses or damages to the residents’ homes,” he said as quoted by Antara.

The former Chief of Staff of the Indonesian Army further elucidated on the suspected cause of the arsenal explosion, attributing it to expired ammunition. 

He clarified that the expired ammunition was initially slated for disposal in Pameungpeuk, Garut, West Java, pending thorough inspection and procedures.

Chief of the Jakarta Regional Military Command, Major General Mohamad Hasan, said preliminary investigation indicated that the explosion was triggered by expired ammunition and explosives that had been in storage for over a decade. The explosion occurred at Warehouse Number 6, which stored 160,000 pieces of ammunition and expired explosives. 

These items were returned from units under the Jakarta Regional Military Command and were categorized as expired, having been in storage for over 10 years, as reported by Antara.

The ammunition and expired explosives have been in the process of disposal since the beginning of 2023. General Agus emphasized that despite the ongoing process, they were being systematically organized pending disposal.

Modernization and priorities

Under the leadership of Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, the Ministry of Defense will continue the procurement of primary weapon systems (alutsista) this year, utilizing the government’s budget allocation. 

The objective is to ensure that the TNI maintains strong operational capabilities to address evolving threats in line with global and regional geopolitical and geostrategic situations.

Defense Minister Prabowo has pledged to fulfill the ministry’s duties in supporting TNI’s needs of primary weapon systems to safeguard the country. 

He emphasized the importance of enhancing the TNI’s capabilities, particularly in terms of human resources and weapon systems, across all branches − Army, Navy, and Air Force.

Several concrete steps have been taken to modernize the weapon systems, including the procurement of 42 units of multi-role combat aircraft from France, the Dassault Rafale, which will significantly contribute to Indonesia’s defense capabilities.

Defense Minister Prabowo has also emphasized maximizing domestic products to support homeland defense efforts. However, budget constraints remain a significant factor influencing Indonesia’s reliance on outdated weapons and equipments, including warships, anti-aircraft systems, amphibious tanks, light tanks, transport planes, and armored personnel carriers (APCs). 

These challenges underscore the urgent need for continued modernization efforts to ensure Indonesia’s defense readiness amidst evolving threats.

Journalist IBP

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