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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Indonesia Wants 12 More Sukhoi Fighters

APOne of Indonesia's six newly purchased Su-27 warplanes being unloaded Wednesday.
JAKARTA, Indonesia -- The Indonesian military said Thursday that it will ask the government make room in its annual budget for the purchase of 12 more high-performance Sukhoi fighter jets from Russia.

"We have asked that this [plan] be included in next year's budget," armed forces commander General Endriartono Sutarto said.

"We want more [Sukhois] because four are not enough for operations," he told reporters.

"We want at least one full squadron," he added.

Sutarto's comments came a day after the first two Russian-built Su-27 interceptors were delivered to the Indonesian air force.

Two more of the multirole jets and two Mi-35 helicopters are set to arrive as part of a deal concluded between Jakarta and Moscow in April.

The air force has said it requires at least two squadrons, or about 28 Sukhois to modernize its tactical wings.

Some commanders have indicated that a total of 40 of the jets may eventually be ordered.

The current purchase, worth $192.6 million, marked a milestone in efforts by Indonesia's air force to modernize its aging inventory and improve its capabilities to patrol the airspace of the far-flung archipelago.

It also represents a change from relying on the United States as its main supplier of weaponry.

The bulk of Indonesia's fighter-bomber fleet is made up of U.S.-made F-16s, F-5 Tiger IIs and Skyhawk jets.

However, a U.S. embargo on arms sales to Indonesia imposed 12 years ago because of human rights abuses has forced Jakarta to seek other sources of military hardware.

Moscow and Jakarta are seeking to renew their military and economic ties, which flourished in the 1950s under Indonesia's founding President Sukarno, Megawati's father.

The ties chilled when the U.S.-backed dictatorship of General Suharto seized power in 1965.