US, Indonesia Agree on F-16 TransferWashington - The U.S. and Indonesian presidents issued a joint statement today from Bali, Indonesia, reaffirming their deepening engagement and announcing the planned transfer and upgrade of 24 Excess Defense Article F-16s to the Indonesian air force.
President Barack Obama is in Indonesia participating in the East Asia Summit. The summit has occurred annually since 2005, following the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations leaders' meeting. The United States and Russia participated in the summit for the first time this year.
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Obama's joint statement with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono today noted the two leaders affirm the summit is the region's premier forum for leaders to discuss strategic political and security issues.
According to a White House fact sheet, Indonesia's addition of 24 F-16s will allow that nation's government to significantly bolster air defense capacity without compromising the defense budget and other national priorities.
The fact sheet notes that when the regeneration is complete, the aircraft will be updated with advanced modular mission computers, improved radar and avionics, and the capability to carry and field more advanced weaponry and sensors. At least 30 Indonesian pilots will receive F-16 training in the United States, and mobile training teams from the United States will train Indonesian aircraft maintainers.
According to the fact sheet, the Defense Department is currently working with the Indonesian Ministry of Defense to develop a letter of offer and acceptance for the 24 aircraft while awaiting completion of the final required congressional notification. The notification is expected to be complete and the offer and acceptance letter ready to be signed in early 2012. The U.S. government is working to begin delivery of aircraft by July 2014, as requested by the government of Indonesia.
Pentagon spokeswoman Navy Cmdr. Leslie Hull-Ryde said the transfer demonstrates the growing partnership between the two nations and their military forces.
"Indonesia is an important U.S. partner and a leader in Southeast Asia. The Department of Defense is working to support the Indonesian military in their efforts to modernize the force," Hull-Ryde said. "The refurbished F-16s support that end and contribute to interoperability with United States."
The new agreement represents the largest transfer of defense articles in the history of the U.S.-Indonesia bilateral relationship, the fact sheet said.
The joint statement also reflected discussion between the two countries on issues including human rights, clean energy, education, climate change and environmental projects.
By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service
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Source : AFPS