Indonesia: For the record. The government plans to order six more Russian-built Sukhoi fighter planes, Indonesian air force Chief of Staff Marshal Imam Sufaat said on 17 September, ANTARA reported. Indonesian President Yudhoyono has approved the planned acquisitions.
Indonesia already has 10 of the aircraft, which are not enough to cover the country’s airspace, according to the military chief. The timeline for delivery is not known.
NIGHTWATCH Comment: Indonesia’s acquisition of Russian weapons systems revives memories of the Sukarno era when Indonesia had the largest navy — including a light cruiser, submarines and frigates — and the most powerful air force in Southeast Asia, all provided by the Soviet Union.
Indonesia retains many links to the US armed forces and has much US -supplied equipment. Nevertheless, the Russians are marketing an excellent aircraft, apparently on favorable terms.
For many third world states it is more economical and strategically sound to purchase dissimilar weapons systems from different supplies than to rely on single supplier. The systems do not stay in service long enough to justify purchasing an expensive maintenance infrastructure. More importantly, having US and Russian systems ensures something will be flyable irrespective of international political considerations.
Phi Beta Iota: The Chinese and Indonesia (and the Chinese diasphora in Indonesia) are playing a long game. Completely invisible to the corporate media and most but not all governments (the US Government is still in shock and ineffective), is the perpetual role of the “old gold” families, including Chinese “old gold” families that have legitimate claims on the gold that General MacArthur liberated in the Philippines–the Chinese did not sign the San Francisco Treaty and still have legitimate documented claims on that gold. Buying Russian right now keeps the Chinese spectre from being seen in the south, although the Fiji deal should not be overlooked. China’s focus in this century is on the Indian Ocean. Later, the world will be astonished to find that Indonesia is the southern power, and is astoundingly close to China across multiple fronts–political-legal, socio-economic, ideo-cultural, techno-demographic, and natural-geographic. Australia is sleep walking, and will be a speed bump when Indonesia gets ready to move to the South Pole region.