Home' Defence Review Asia : DRA July-August 2017 Contents 14 DefenceReviewAsia | JULY/AUG 2017
May 28/29, in which ISIS founder and “caliph”
Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was reportedly killed along
with three hundred of his followers. The strike was
executed by Su-34 and Su-35S jets operating out
of Kheimeem AFB.
Combat proven, the Su-35S is being
considered by countries in North Africa, Latin
America, Middle East and Asia-Pacific, director
for international cooperation and regional
policies, Rostec’s Victor Kladov told the author.
He specially mentioned China that has already
signed for 24 such jets (shipments ongoing), and
Indonesia which inches closer to a firm contract.
“I believe in huge prospects between Indonesia
and Russia”, Kladov added.
According to him, the Su-35 deal will be the
first one in a series for Russian equipment. Next
in line is “a major shipbuilding program”, whose
details are yet to be made public, and a similar
one on rotorcraft. Rostec member Techmash will
manage the production of munitions in Indonesia,
including 30-mm and, possibly, 100-mm shells for
BMP-3F infantry fighting vehicles in service with the
Of aerospace products, Indonesia has already
procured from Russia five Su-27SK single
seat interceptors and five Su-30MK2 twin seat
multirole fighters along with thirty Mi-35P and
Mi-17 helicopters. Its top brass are known to have
developed a huge appetite for new equipment, but
shortage of funds restricts the acquisition process.
Still, the nation’s defense expenditure rose more
than three times during the past ten years, now
exceeding US $8 billion. Priorities have been set as
to where funding will be most effectively allocated.
According to defense minister Ryamizard Ryacudu,
the Su-35 buy is given the top priority.
At the same time, Kladov says the deals are by no
means easy to finalise and then execute. A year ago
new legislation came into force demanding foreign
collaborators re-invest up to 80% of the contract
value back into local industry. Also, the offsets
must relate to the equipment being purchased, in
such forms as maintenance, repair and overhaul
(MRO). This offset requirement is tough to meet,
and yet Moscow believes it can manage this.
As per maritime equipment, the customer wants
transfer of technologies - including those to do
with ship construction and maintenance, as well as
The Indonesian navy used to operate lots of
Soviet equipment, including a Project 68bis cruiser
and Project 613 diesel-electric submarines. Today,
its assets with a Russian touch are limited to
some old landing ships, minesweepers and patrol
boats (totaling 39) acquired from the former East
Germany in 1993 following the reunification of
the country. The most numerous in the Indonesian
inventory are 900-tonne antisubmarine ships
(operated as coast guard vessels) built by the
Peene-Werft plant in East Germany to Russian
project 1331M specifications. All of these have
been re-equipped with MTU diesels, but still
keep many systems of Russian origin. Moscow
is offering a lifetime extension and modernisation
program of these involving the installation of new
weapon systems, along with modern missiles
(the 3M55 Yakhont anti-ship weapon is already
on board the Indonesian navy frigate KRI (354)
Oswald Siahaan), torpedoes, mines and artillery.
Indonesia is also offered radars and other systems
for use on these and other warships.
The Indonesian armed forces want to be self-
sufficient on repair and maintenance of its assets,
and Russia is ready to oblige with appropriate
technologies. Russian sales managers see huge
potential in this field.
The Beriev Be-200 amphibian twin-jet has been
considered by a number of Asia-Pacific nations,
but their interest has not yet materialised in sales
to the region. However, both China and Indonesia
have declared their intent to buy some. These
potential customers have even suggested how
many airplanes they want to have (ten-to-twelve
and two, respectively). China wants to employ
these jets on fire-fighting duties (and, supposedly,
on liaison and crew rescue missions related to
naval and coast guard ships). “Everybody wants
this plane, but the sticker price bites”, Kladov
acknowledges. Today, only Russia and Azerbaijan
operate a handful of Be-200ChS fire-fighting
aircraft. The Russian defence ministry also has an
order for a small number of such jets in maritime
patrol and search-and-rescue versions.
Because of the unique design and high
performance, such an airplane cannot sell cheaply.
Production rates have been low, which makes
things worse. “There are no simple solutions”,
Russian sales managers admit. Acquisition of
a pure fire-fighting airplane is difficult to justify
financially. Fires do occur in the Asia-Pacific, but
they are of irregular occurrence, a couple of times
per season. The rest of the year such an airplane
stays idle. Beriev designers are considering
ways to make the Be-200 able to work in other
There are a number of reasons for the volume of new Russian sales into
the Asia-Pacific. First is price, which has gone down for many Russian
products following softening of the Rouble in 2014/2015.
Su-35 – contract with Indonesia expected soon.
Credit: V Karnozov
22/06/2017 1:11 PM
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