Saturday, May 19, 2007

Air Force looks to buy locally

Thursday, April 19, 2007
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Air Force and state arms manufacturer PT Pindad has signed an agreement to locally produce weaponry and spare parts, including for Russian-made Sukhoi jet fighters.

"We need to create a synergy between the Air Force Research and Development Agency and PT Pindad, especially on strategic industry," the Air Force's chief of staff, Air Chief Marshall Herman Prayitno, told reporters during a visit to Pindad headquarters in Bandung on Wednesday.

"We could import all our military equipment, but if they can be manufactured by PT Pindad, why not use them?"

He said in the last two years, the Air Force had committed to spend more of its budget on locally manufactured products.

"We need to create more openness and a closer relationships to ease the cooperation. Furthermore, the President has ordered the prioritizing of domestic equipment purchases to accelerate our strategic industry," said Herman.

He said it was easier for the Air Force to work with local manufacturers to improve the quality of products, because it could provide direct feedback to local manufacturers.

"In the past, we had to involve third parties in purchasing military equipment. These third parties sometimes were not supportive in taking our feedback," he said.

Herman said he had instructed the Air Force Research and Development Center to produce prototypes that would support the maintenance of the Russian Sukhoi fighters to lengthen their service time.

"We can directly purchase light equipment and blank ammunition and ordnance from PT Pindad, while heavy equipment and live ammunition and ordnance have to be procured through Indonesian Military Headquarters," he said.

In 2007, the Air Force Research and Development Center and PT Pindad agreed to develop 13 pieces of military equipment, including audio and oxygen adaptors, an adaptor for the AIM-9 armament rack and a drag-chute folder for Sukhoi jet fighters.

Pindad president director Budi Santoso said it was important to put in place an evaluation system between the Air Force, as the user, and PT Pindad, as the producer, to increase the quality of production.

"If there is any equipment that we can produce together, as long as we are given enough time, I believe we can produce good quality equipment," he said.

The head the Air Force Aeronautics Agency, Air Commodore Sunaryo HW, said the Air Force and Pindad had established good communications to improve the quality of production.

"There is no such thing as instant good quality. We need to provide more feedback in order to increase the quality of equipment," he told The Jakarta Post. (02)

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