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Indonesia inks Rafale fighter jet deal with France

February 10, 2022

Jakarta has ordered 42 jets as France and Indonesia continue to strengthen military relations in the face of growing tensions in the Asia-Pacific.

Picture of the French-made Dassault Rafale fighter jet
France continues signing deals for its Dassault Rafale fighter aircraft, with the latest being a purchase of 42 aircraft from IndonesiaImage: abaca/picture alliance

Indonesia's defense minister on Thursday announced that a deal has been signed with France to buy six Dassault Rafale fighter aircraft.  Another 36 jets are expected to be bought as part of the agreement.

"We agreed on the purchase of 42 Rafale. The contract signed today is for the first six, which will be followed by 36 others," said Prabowo Subianto.

The agreement was announced as French Defense Minister Florence Parly met with Subianto in Jakarta. Parly said Indonesia had chosen the specific warplane due to its "technical excellence" and its demonstrated "operational capabilities."

French President Emmanuel Macron took to Twitter to express his delight. "42 Rafale! Indonesia chooses French industrial excellence! The know-how of the more than 400 French companies and thousands of workers who design the Rafale is recognized." 

Why the deal is significant

The move is a sign of strengthening relations between Paris and Jakarta. It follows last year's submarine purchase debacle which saw Australia back out of a multibillion-dollar deal with France in favor of one with the US. 

The move soured relations with Paris, with Macron saying in October that Canberra "had broken the relation of trust between our two countries."

France proceeded to recall its ambassadors in Australia and the US before sending them back again.

Australia's change in tack saw the establishment of a new defense alliance with Washington and London named, AUKUS.

This security pact is being seen as a measure to counter China in the Asia-Pacific.

France blindsided by US-Australian submarine deal: Sonia Phalnikar reports

Continued sales of the Dassault Rafale

France has managed to reach successful purchase deals of the Dassault Rafale fighter plane with other countries too.

In December the United Arab Emirates signed a record deal for 80 of the warplanes. Qatar has purchased 36 and Egypt has ordered more than 50.

The Rafale F4 model planes are still undergoing a development program worth €2 billion, which is set to be completed in 2024. They are to be delivered from 2027.

Dassault Aviation has also taken orders for the planes from India,  Greece and Croatia.

A French parliamentary report shows that business totaled some €4.7 billion from 2011-2020.

kb/rt (AFP, dpa)