MILITARY - JAKARTA. The Indonesian government has delayed a plan to purchase 12 Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets previously used by Qatar, due to limited fiscal capacity, a spokesperson for the defence minister said.
Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak made the comments in a panel interview with broadcaster TV One earlier this week, saying the delay was decided by the defence and finance ministries.
"The government ... has delayed the purchase of Mirage jets because our fiscal capacity, for the time being, cannot support such purchase," Dahnil said on TV One, adding that the military would order a retrofit for its existing Sukhoi and F16 aircraft instead.
Dahnil, as well as spokespeople for the defence and finance ministries, did not respond to Reuters request for comments.
Indonesia inked a deal with a unit of Czech defence company Czechoslovak Group (CSG) to buy 12 Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets in January 2023, valued at 733 million euros ($801.68 million), the defence ministry said last year.
The secondhand jets were set to be delivered within 24 months after the deal was signed. They were intended to be used while Indonesia waits for the arrival of some of the 42 Rafale fighter jets that Jakarta had bought in 2022 for $8.1 billion.
The plan to buy the Mirage planes has been criticised by some lawmakers because the jets were considered old.
The decision to delay the Mirage purchase came despite President Joko Widodo's approval of a 20% increase in defence spending to the end of 2024 to upgrade military hardware to $25 billion.
Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto, the frontrunner for presidential elections due in February, has overseen the military's efforts to modernise its ageing fleet, which include purchases of 12 new drones from Turkish Aerospace and fighter jets and transport helicopters from U.S. companies Boeing and Lockheed Martin.