Indonesia will receive German tanks soon

Indonesia will receive German tanks soon
File photo of Marder armoured vehicles

INDONESIA - The Defence Ministry has contracted with the Rheinmetall Group of Düsseldorf to supply armored vehicles, logistical support and ammunition worth around ¤216 million (US$290.65 million), the Germany-based com-pany said.

Indonesia will receive 103 Leopard 2 main battle tanks (MBTs) and 42 upgraded Marder 1A3 infantry fighting vehicles and 11 various armored recovery and engineering vehicles.

The contract had come into full force after all legal formalities had been completed, including the approval of the German parliament, the company said in statement released on Wednesday.

Rheinmetall Group will deliver the vehicles to the Indonesian Army between 2014 and 2016.

The purchase approval was delayed by opposition legislators that cited concerns for Indonesia's human rights record.

Media reports suggested that the MBTs would be assigned to the 8th Cavalry Battalion on the 2nd Division of the TNI-AD's Strategic Reserve Command (KOSTRAD), in Pasuruan, East Java.

Two Leopard 2A4s and two Marder IFVs took part in Indonesia's Armed Forces Day celebrations on Oct 5.

Indonesia has been working toward reaching its Minimum Essential Force (MEF) in 2024, or "a force level that can guarantee the attainment of immediate strategic defence interests".

Previously, Indonesia Military Army chief of staff Lt. Gen. Budiman said that the Army is looking to modernize its primary weapons defence system for the 2014-2018 periods with a number of acquisitions, including helicopters, aerial defence systems and tanks.

One such acquisition is the AH-64E Apache attack helicopter, bought from the US Army through a Foreign Military Sales agreement in a deal worth $500 million.

"Two Apaches will arrive in 2014, and another six by 2017," said Budiman, who only goes by one name.

Budiman said that in 2014, Indonesia will receive the first wave of Astros II (Artillery Saturation Rocket System) multiple rocket launcher system from Brazil-based Avibras in a reported $800 million deal for 36 units.

Other acquisitions include Starstreak and Mistral missiles, Bell 412 and Fennec multi-purpose helicopters, as well a line Anoa Tarantula combat vehicles, a joint Indonesia-Korea project.

The Defence budget for 2014 stands at Rp 83 trillion ($7.65 billion), making it the largest allocated by the government compared to other programs.

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