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Indonesia expresses interest in Austrian Eurofighters

Austrian Air Force Eurofighter
Austrian defense ministry file photo

Indonesia is interested in acquiring Austria’s fleet of 15 Eurofighter jets, according to Austrian media reports.

As reported by “Die Presse”, Indonesian defense minister Prabowo Subianto sent a letter to the Austrian defense ministry in which he offered to start negotiations for the purchase of the jets with the aim of modernizing the Indonesian Air Force.

The Austrian defense ministry confirmed the receipt of the letter, but did not want to provide further comments, according to the report.

Indonesia has been looking for a replacement for its F-5E/F Tiger fighter aircraft for years. Various reports cited the country’s interest in purchasing Russian Su-35s, while more recent reports pointed to the country’s potential acquisition of US F-16 jets.

“I am aware of the sensitivity of the matter,” Prabowo reportedly wrote in the letter, pointing to the fact that he is acquainted with the controversy surrounding Austria’s 2003 purchase of the fighters. “But I am certain that my offer has the potential to benefit both sides,” Prabowo continued.

Austria is currently conducting a widened investigation into Airbus and the Eurofighter consortium after more evidence regarding alleged bribes and corruption into the fighter jet acquisition emerged in December 2019.

The Austrian defense ministry filed an official criminal complaint in 2017 against Airbus Defence and Space GmbH (formerly EADS Deutschland GmbH) and Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH based on suspected willful and fraudulent deception. The ministry said at the time that the companies had been deceiving the Republic of Austria since 2002, “both with regards to the true purchase price as well as to the true ability to deliver and true specifications of the Eurofighter interceptor planes.”