Indonesia’s Expanding Supplier Base : China

19 November 2008
Giantbow - anti aircraft artillery (photo : Bronco1978-Kaskus Militer)
Battery Command Vehicle for Giantbow (photo : Bobo - AngkasaReaders)

Over the past few years Indonesia has broadened its horizons in the search for effective defence equipment for theTNI. One of the reasons behind this was a search for affordable solutions, there was also the legacy of the various supply embargos that had been imposed on Indonesia – supplier diversity was a very important consideration. On top of this the political situation had changed both in Indonesia and abroad, opening up a host of new possibilities.

For many years Indonesia had very negative relations with China,for a variety of different reasons.Yet China was another one of those countries that had supplied Indone-sia in the Sukarno era. At that time China was part of the Soviet bloc and responded to the Soviet Union’s decision to aid Indonesia, supplying somewhat elderly and well used La-votchkin La-11 fighters and Tupolev Tu-2 bombers, and far more useful MiG-17 fighters.

Today, China’s growing econom-ic strength and its emergence as a potential regional superpower, has seen Indonesia forge new diplomatic and trade relationships with Beijing.These new links have also resulted in the TNI purchasing Chinese defence equipment and at a political level there have been discussions on further strengthening defence cooperation between Jakarta and Beijing,with issues such as missile develop-ment being mentioned.
QW-3 manportable air defence system (photo : TNI-AU)

In terms of equipment from China,all three Indonesian services havefound something to interest them.The Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL) has acquired the C-802 (YJ-82) anti-ship missile which it is installing onits Todak class of locally built FPB57NAV V large patrol craft replacing time expired MM38 missiles. Each of these patrol craft will receive two C-802 launch canisters.

The first Todak class unit to re-ceive the Chinese missiles was KRI Layang (805), with the installation completed at the PT PAL shipyard in Surabaya. Next came KRI Hiu (804), with KRI Todak (803) and KRI Lemadang (806) to follow. The C-802 missiles were successfully tested in a major military exercise in June of this year. The C-802 is a very attrac-tive option to the TNI-AL, as it will provide them with an affordable solution to fit a large number of patrol craft and other units with anti-ship missiles.

Another Chinese system that has been widely adopted in the Indonesian military is the QW-3 manportable air defence system (MANPADS).The Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) has acquired some 26 QW-3 systems, along with a substantial quantity of missiles. The Indonesian Marines have also acquired QW-3, using the system mounted on a 4x4 vehicle. The Indonesian Army (TNI-AD) has also acquired Chinese equipment in terms of 18 Giant Bow twin 23 mm air defence gun systems. Since then there have been talks on the acquisition of further Chinese air defence systems.

C-802 SSM launched from KRI Layang 805 (photo : TNI-AL)

China has become an important defence supplier for Indonesia. Air defence systems such as the QW-3 MANPADS (shown here) have been adopted by the Marines and the TNI-AU, while the TNI-AD has acquired 18 Giant Bow twin 23 mm gun systems. For the TNI-AL the C-802 anti-ship missile has also proved attractive.

(Asian Defense & Diplomacy - Supplement)

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