Indonesia announced on 10 February it was buying 42 Rafale fighter jets in a US$8.1 billion deal. The purchase was part of a deal with France’s defence ministry that includes submarine development and ammunition. The deal comes as Paris, which views itself as a global maritime power, seeks to expand geopolitical ties in the Indo-Pacific after the United States, Britain and Australia created a new strategic alliance last year called AUKUS. “We’re planning to acquire 42 Rafale,” said Indonesian Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto as he met with his French counterpart, Florence Parly. The order would make Indonesia the second state in the Indo-Pacific region after India to rely on the jet produced by Dassault Aviation , Parly said.
A French defence ministry official told journalists in a briefing that the jet deal, which will boost production at Dassault Aviation, Safran and Thales. A first phase of the deal, over six Rafale jets, will be executed over the next months, while the remaining 36 will be delivered at a later stage, either late this year or next year. Dassault Aviation said the deal marked the start of a long-term partnership and would allow it to rapidly step up its presence in Indonesia. The deal will make Indonesia France’s biggest military procurement client in the Southeast Asia region, the defence ministry official said.
In addition to the fighter jets, Indonesia has also signed a memorandum to cooperate on the development of submarines which is set to result in an order of two Scorpene vessels, produced by Naval Group, the French defence ministry said.