Four A-29 Super Tucano fighter planes arrived at East Jakarta’s Halim Perdanakusuma Base on Saturday in the first wave of new “counter-insurgency” turboprop fighters purchased as part of the Indonesian Military’s (TNI) push to modernize its fleet.
The Super Tucano, a reliable fighter known for its counter-insurgency abilities and low price, will replace the Indonesian Air Force’s grounded fleet of ageing OV-10 Broncos. The Indonesian government bought two packages of eight planes each from Brazilian planemaker Embraer for $143 million per package, Air Force deputy chief of staff Air Marshall Dede Rusamsi said.
A second delivery of four Super Tucanos are expected to arrive early next year. A second group of eight more planes will arrive some time after January 2013, he said.
The “anti-guerrilla” Super Tucano can be used for a broad range of missions, including surveillance, air-to-air combat and counter-insurgency actions, Dede said. The Air Force plans to use the planes for pilot training, he added.
The four planes left Embraer’s factory in Brazil on Aug. 6 were co-piloted by eight Brazilian pilots. The pilots passed over Spain, Morocco, Italy, Greece, Egypt, Qatar, Oman, India and Thailand before they entered Indonesia and landed in Medan. The entire trip took 54 hours and 35 minutes spread across 14 days, Dede said.
“Before being flown to Indonesia, the four airplanes had undergone [safety] checks, including document clarification, checks of plane components and interiors, as well as test flights involving expert personnel and test pilots from the Indonesian Air Force,” Dede said.
Military officials welcomed the planes in a ceremony in East Jakarta on Saturday. They will then be flown to the Air Force’s Abdulrachman Saleh base in Malang, where they will be based.
Each of Super Tucano weighs 5.4 tons and can carry up to 1,550 kilograms of weaponry.
Embraer is the world’s third largest commercial aircraft manufacturer, behind America’s Boeing and Europe’s Airbus. In 2010, it sold 101 commercial aircraft and 145 executive jets.