Regional Arms Race

Feb 29th, 2008, in News, by

Australia's regional hegemonic aspirations and Indonesian defence procurements.

Australia

Rahmad Nasution, the Canberra Bureau Chief of Antara, writes that Australia has ambitions to attain regional military supremacy, most clearly evidenced in its efforts to persuade the United States to sell its most technologically advanced plane, the F-22 Raptor, which currently by law the US keeps all to itself.

Rahmad says the new Australian government's keenness to purchase the Raptor, as well as its plans to renew its naval fleet, is proof that it anticipates a regional arms race, with Indonesia, as well as China and India. antara

Poor Man's Army

Defence minister Juwono Sudarsono however says Indonesia's spending on defence, at $4 billion per year, is extremely small in comparison to neighbouring countries. The tiny island state of Singapore spends ten times as much annually, he says.

Juwono Sudarsono
Juwono Sudarsono.

Because of this any suggestion that Indonesia was engaged, or sought to be engaged, in a regional arms race, for example with Australia, was absurd, he said. antara

Arms Acquisitions - America

Frida Berrigan of "Foreign Policy In Focus" however says that of late: fpif.org

Jakarta wants weapons. Lots of them.

Recently the Indonesian air force have sought to purchase Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters (six units at $30 million each) and C-130 Hercules tactical transport planes from the United States, she says.

The United States normalised military relations with Indonesia in 2005, and is no longer concerned about how the weapons it sells may be used, such as against civilian populations in Papua or elsewhere, she says, and the

floodgates have opened.

Juwono Sudarsono seems to agree:

the climate in the US Congress [regarding selling arms to Indonesia] has improved.

He says the United States also offered $16 million in military aid. tempo

Mutammimul Ula
Mutammimul Ula

A politician from the Islamist Justice Party (Partai Keadilan Sejahtera (PKS)), Mutammimul Ula, warns that Indonesia should beware of buying arms from the United States, considering it wasn't long ago that the ten-year arms embargo was still in place. antara

Arms Acquisitions - Russia

Mutammimul Ula also complains that the F-16's are comparatively old technology, from the early 1990's, while Juwono Sudarsono explains that the F-16's are needed given the supply bottlenecks in Russia with the more state of the art Sukhoi plane, which, after Russian president Vladimir Putin's visit to Jakarta in September 2007, Indonesia contracted to buy more of.

During Putin's visit Moscow provided $1 billion in loans for weapons and later in December Indonesia bought Russian medium and short-range missiles, aerial bombs, and other weapons systems, these purchases coming on top of a $192 million spending spree (paid for with palm oil) in 2003 on the Sukhoi and other armaments.

Sukhoi
Sukhoi.

Frida Berrigan says Indonesia is also now hoping for more from its new Russian best friend forever, including six submarines, air defence systems, helicopters, boats, and other systems that could add up to about $3 billion, and this has Washington worried about losing market share and influence.


48 Comments on “Regional Arms Race”

  1. avatar Sylvester says:

    It is almost impossible for a country such as Australia with only 20 millions population to gain a regional (Australasia) hegemony. Many Australians see that they can rely on the ANZUS Treaty and see no threat from the neighbours, although some stupids may still think that Indonesia would invade them sooner or later.

    China is the one who has a good chance. It has 3 million strong troops and 400 nuclear warheards. Although the majority of the equipment is obsolete, a roughly quarter of it is modern and approaching the Western standard. The airforce has around 300 Sukhois and 100 J-10s (comparable to the latest version of F-16), also a few strategic bombers. The navy is one of the strongest is Asia, second to Japan’s. Last year, one Chinese Song class submarine sneaked to the US Pacific Fleet, only 5 miles from USS Kitty Hawk. The army is the strongest in Asia. Hundreds of tank (T-96s, ZTZ-99s) and IFV are quite state of the art. Chinese missile technology is comparable to Russian’s, only second to the US. China has thousands of ballistic missiles, mainly directed to Taiwan, US and Japan.

    Indonesia desperately needs new weapon systems. The armed force was one of the strongest in Asia during 1960’s but today is just horrible. Buying from Russian is a good strategy. Maybe try also get from Chinese or other European contries. The armed force is always a deterrent factor in any international relationship. More Russian bombers are flying and missiles aimed to Western Europe because of the US plan to put Patriots in Polandia. China has 1000 missiles aiming Taiwan. Recently, China refused to allow the US fleet to enter HK to protest the Dalai Lama’s visit to the US. Indonesia should modernize its armed forced if it want better respect in the international forums.

  2. avatar Andrew says:

    Prioritize. Indonesia should spend the money to fix what’s more important.
    In the meantime, Indonesia should watch its steps, and not step on anyone’s toe LOL

  3. avatar TheWrathOfGrapes says:

    Defence minister Juwono Sudarsono however says Indonesia’s spending on defence, at $4 billion per year, is extremely small in comparison to neighbouring countries. The tiny island state of Singapore spends ten times as much annually, he says.

    What is this guy smoking? Ten times as much – he meant US$40bn per year? Or is that in Rupiahs?

  4. avatar Odinius says:

    Indonesia has the worst quality military in the region, aside from Cambodia and Laos. This is largely because only 20% of average earnings among TNI officers come from salaries. So where are the soldiers getting that 80% from? Private security work for multinational companies and also any number of private enterprises. Before Indonesia can think about competing with rational states like Australia and Singapore, it needs to sort out TNI’s use of time and resources, first by paying them more and then by limiting their ability to set up business ventures.

  5. avatar dragonwall says:

    What is this guy smoking? Ten times as much – he meant US$40bn per year? Or is that in Rupiahs?

    That was why I made a posting and someone apparently had my comments smoked out. For what ever reason I suppose he should know best.

    I said something the effect that Indonesia can go ahead to spend 1-200 billion and forget to feed the poor. I think someone don’t quite like it this way, or perhaps he might have other thoughts.

  6. avatar sputjam says:

    If you buy latest american defence product, it come with a source code, which means you will require permission from washington before using the product.
    hence malaysia bought only eight F18’s and refused to buy more when offered the latest version from boeing.
    On the other hand, no such handicap exist if you buy arms from russia. hence Malaysia have one squadron of MIG29 and another sukhoi Su27’s.

    Singapore, i believe, contributed some funds for the development of the F22’s.

    Indonesia’s main priority is to maintain its nationhood from breaking up. there are no other threats externally that warrants attention.

    Australia’s interest in F22’s could be due to its vertical take-of-landing(VTOL). which means if there is trouble brewing in small island nations within its backyards, the F22’s can be easily deployed without the need of a runway.

  7. avatar Aluang Anak Bayang says:

    Do we really need those things? We can easily swamp any country with refugees and makes them minority in their own country.

  8. avatar Sylvester says:

    Australia’s interest in F22’s could be due to its vertical take-of-landing(VTOL). which means if there is trouble brewing in small island nations within its backyards, the F22’s can be easily deployed without the need of a runway.

    Nope, F22 is not VTOL type. You may talk about F35 JSF which posses VTOL ability

    Do we really need those things? We can easily swamp any country with refugees and makes them minority in their own country.

    LOL, how? By boats? They will sink before reaching any place due to overload!

  9. avatar Daniel says:

    Can you imagine a world where all military spending was redirected in the form of AID for education, AIDS elimination, housing, clean drinking water. We would have a world without poverty in less than a decade.

    The whole world has gone blind.

  10. avatar Aluang Anak Bayang says:

    LOL, how? By boats? They will sink before reaching any place due to overload!

    I don’t know why I am answering this. If the Vietnamese refugees can sail all the way down to Indonesia and beyond, ask yourself what vessels they are using. How dumb!

  11. avatar TheWrathOfGrapes says:

    If you buy latest american defence product, it come with a source code, which means you will require permission from washington before using the product.
    hence malaysia bought only eight F18’s and refused to buy more when offered the latest version from boeing.

    That’s part of the reason. The main reason is that the Russians allowed Mahathir to barter trade using palm oil…

  12. avatar Teng says:

    The armed force was one of the strongest in Asia during 1960’s but today is just horrible

    Are you sure? I remember reading once that the Indonesian armed forces always has been rather “weak” because in the sixties (early) the Navy and Airforce supported Soekarno, and because of that after the kudeta Soeharto kept those two part of the armed forces “small” compared to the army (groundforces).

    I can understand Indonesia wants to increase their military force, almost all countries want to do that, however I can’t help but thinking that money could be spend more wisely.. like education

  13. avatar Sylvester says:

    Yup agree guys,
    Education and health are very important too. It would be ideal if the arms are not needed, everybody live in peace.

    Aluang, you were saying of sending millions of Indo to make others minority. How many boats that Indo have? They must be overload. The Vietnamese refugees were small (not possible to make themselves majority). Use your brain. Your hardly controlled emotions made you looked dumb and dumber, LOL

  14. avatar Janma says:

    There has got to come a day when they put all the guns down and work out another way…. you’d think so hey? Evolution comes slowly.

  15. avatar sputjam says:

    Do we really need those things? We can easily swamp any country with refugees and makes them minority in their own country

    Which is australia’s main worry. Therefore Indonesia is considered vital in australia’s stability. But just a footnote below-

    It took the dutch probably several thousand soldiers to control tens of millions of indonesian. It took maybe 10 million chinese, who landed on indonesian shore to escape hardship in the 1800-1900’s to control economy of 200 million. What good will swarming ausralia with refugees going to do when most will end up as beach bums.

    Nope, F22 is not VTOL type. You may talk about F35 JSF which posses VTOL ability

    In that case, the only reason why australia could be eying the planes is because singapore wants them too. Whites cannot be seen to be left behind asians.

  16. avatar Sylvester says:

    In that case, the only reason why australia could be eying the planes is because singapore wants them too. Whites cannot be seen to be left behind asians.

    Agree, Sputjam.
    Whites always want to be superior. US always worry about Chinese military development. In case of Australia, I wonder about the future since most of the young whites are just prefer to lay back on the beaches or have party than work hard.

  17. avatar Purba Negoro says:

    None of you have any concept of Indonesian military today. One assumes this is because most commentators here are fat whites- be they lower-middle-class native-land failures married to a village peasant-woman 20 years their junior or the atypical blabbering lick-spittle Chinamen seeking to impress all and sundry with boastful tales to insinuate themselves into the good graces of their beloved Whites Master’ .
    We, the Javanese control the economy, not the Chinaman- here is merely our wayang in our masterful display of dhalang-ship.
    All worth owning belongs to the military and the royalty/bangsawan asli negoro.
    Soon you will see our total destruction of the Salim group- read up on PSKP and BLBI. Hadingrat Hamengkubuwana has resumed the Jogja keraton in displaying the Mataram battle standard.

    Suharto returned our ancestral lands and rightful property top us- including that of our abdi dalem (lowly lickspittle court-servant) Chinamen.
    Indonesia simply cannot be invaded. We have the knowledge and manufacturing facilities to produce all our own small-arms, ammunition and artillery, advanced anti-tank rockets, clothing, medical goods, etc. All of which are controlled by the military.
    Basel and Bofors assisted commissioning our steel-works and shipyards.
    We can and do build combat helicopters.
    All purchased equipment is easily and readily reverse engineered.
    We already have stockpiles of chemical and nuero-chemicals.
    We simply do not produce as it is more cost-effective in a macro-economic scenario to source externally
    You all forget that Kopassus, with over 17000 currently serving acknowledged servicemen is greater in size than the combatant sector of ADF- including their reasonable SAS.
    How many more do you think are kept hidden from the Wests’ ceaseless prying?
    Indonesia learnt well from our Kempetei friends- our Javanese society is a total paramilitary- consider Brimob, Delta 88, Kostrad, Marinir, etc.
    Suharto engineered the share-holding of most other ASEAN nations’ strategic resources. We own most of Temasek holdings and Malaysia’s palm oil- London Sumatera Plantations is owned by Tommy. The Gurkhas in Brunei can be merely swatted like a pest mosquito- what will Nancy Britain do in retaliation? More Nanny State PC-Bluster and Human Rights mincings?

    Why else do you think Lee Kwan Yu and Mahatir came grovelling to the royal tomb of Suharto?
    We have already issued a warning to Malaysia- “take one more island- and it is total war- we have 4 million patriotic volunteers to destroy you and Singapore entirely”.

    Ganyang Melayu! is still very fresh in our Javanese conscience and Temasek/Singapura is former Majapahit vassalage, as was Kambodia, as was Myanmar, as was Lanna Thai. We have historical claim to these former vassal territories as well as Northern Australia- as per archeological evidence.
    ASEAN is Mataram Baru.

    Suharto was not an idiot- he remained in power for 32 years before Lengser- do not think for one moment we Javanese and our bangwasan birthright manifest Majaphit destiny will not be allowed to be undone by the petty whims of Imperialistas.

    Pribumisasi Indonesia! Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!

  18. avatar Aluang Anak Bayang says:

    Well said Purba Negoro.

    Hope you are a Kejawen Muslim like all our hero forefathers and all our intelligent people.

  19. avatar Aluang Anak Bayang says:

    @ Sylvester

    Aluang, you were saying of sending millions of Indo to make others minority. How many boats that Indo have? They must be overload. The Vietnamese refugees were small (not possible to make themselves majority). Use your brain. Your hardly controlled emotions made you looked dumb and dumber, LOL

    Sylvester, your kind clearly had no match for Javanese intelligence. This time, I would not dignify your inane comment with a response.

  20. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    sputjam said

    What good will swarming australia with refugees going to do when most will end up as beach bums.

    Maybe we’ll get rid of fat sheilas chasing Kuta cowboys on our beaches.

  21. avatar sputjam says:

    Purba negoro in his dreams said-

    Ganyang Melayu! is still very fresh in our Javanese conscience and Temasek/Singapura is former Majapahit vassalage, as was Kambodia, as was Myanmar, as was Lanna Thai. We have historical claim to these former vassal territories as well as Northern Australia- as per archeological evidence.
    ASEAN is Mataram Baru.

    The accounts of majapahit rule was obtained from only one source – written by a man called prapanca, supposedly a court historian written in his poems. In it, the majapahit was assumed to include north australia, malaya, papua and sumatra, but nothing more. Definitely not as far as Myanmar or the kingdom of siam. whether the account of this one man is genuine, we do not know as the so called empire of majapahit did not leave a trail of its existance except on the island of java.

    In any case, myanmar and siam and the old malay kingdom of kampuchea, known as Champa, regularly clash using elephant cavalries to charge into opposing armies. what chance have the armies of majapahit has against such tactics. Until today, every historian knows that thailand was never colonised by anyone.

  22. avatar naga says:

    “..Whites always want to be superior. US always worry about Chinese military development. In case of Australia, I wonder about the future since most of the young whites are just prefer to lay back on the beaches or have party than work hard..”

    thats because whites ARE superior; they value hard work, honesty and discipline; something sorely mssing in Indonesia, hence most of you are poor, uneducated, ignorant and unemployed with no future…

    “..Suharto returned our ancestral lands and rightful property top us- including that of our abdi dalem (lowly lickspittle court-servant) Chinamen.
    Indonesia simply cannot be invaded. We have the knowledge and manufacturing facilities to produce all our own small-arms, ammunition and artillery, advanced anti-tank rockets, clothing, medical goods, etc. All of which are controlled by the military…”

    Yes, the and pribumi are now in the midst of destroying their beloved country and society, something the Chinese spent time building up…Indonesia’s next revolution will make ’98 look like a picnic

    “..You all forget that Kopassus, with over 17000 currently serving acknowledged servicemen is greater in size than the combatant sector of ADF- including their reasonable SAS…”

    You forget that Kopassus has never fought a real war and when they confronted the SAS during “konfrontasi’ and in East Timor, they got their arse kicked soundly; thats because there’s a big difference between fighting professional soldiers and unarmed civilians. The only thing Kopassus is good at is murdering civilians, raping women and preying on the weak in typical cowardly Indonesian style…

    Indonesia will forever be weak and out of control, whilst Australia will continue to prosper; the ADF is only upgrading; the difference is they know how to use their weapons systems, whereas the Indos don’t.

    The TNI and govt are only interested in buying more weapons, becuase it means they can make more $$ on the price upgrades they will insist on; more weapons means more $$$ for crooked generals and politicians…enjoy your next bowl of rice Indonesia….

  23. avatar Aluang Anak Bayang says:

    @ naga the White Butt Licker,

    thats because whites ARE superior; they value hard work, honesty and discipline; something sorely mssing in Indonesia, hence most of you are poor, uneducated, ignorant and unemployed with no future”¦

    China in her glorious days did not attempt to dominate another foreign lands. She sent envoys and made friends. Mojopahit in her heydays did not seek to subdue another race. We shared ideas. Same can be said for the Indians.

    Whites pillaged and raped when they were in power. Hardwork my foot. Honesty is dubious. What is so great with killing and robbing lands of the less fortunates, then imposing ‘white’ law on others. Discipline maybe.

    Yes, the and pribumi are now in the midst of destroying their beloved country and society, something the Chinese spent time building up”¦Indonesia’s next revolution will make ’98 look like a picnic

    Build what up? You should be thankful to us for giving you this opportunity and welcoming you to our land.

    You forget that Kopassus has never fought a real war and when they confronted the SAS during “konfrontasi’ and in East Timor, they got their arse kicked soundly; thats because there’s a big difference between fighting professional soldiers and unarmed civilians….

    Provide links .. otherwise it is just fart.

    Indonesia will forever be weak and out of control, whilst Australia will continue to prosper; the ADF is only upgrading; the difference is they know how to use their weapons systems, whereas the Indos don’t.

    Like the accident-prone Austeyr?

    Phew …

  24. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    @Purba Negoro

    None of you have any concept of Indonesian military today. One assumes this is because most commentators here are fat whites- be they lower-middle-class native-land failures married to a village peasant-woman 20 years their junior”¦

    How do you know? Have you met any of them?

  25. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    naga said

    The only thing Kopassus is good at is murdering civilians, raping women and preying on the weak in typical cowardly Indonesian style”¦

    while posing for the cameras drinking blood from a decapitated snake to show off how macho they are. I once saw a picture published on the Bali Post front page.
    Sok jagoan.

  26. avatar Purba Negoro says:

    Naga- like all lower-middle class Bule you are full of excreta.

    No regular soldiers were involved in either Konfrontasi or East Timor.
    From wikipedia:

    On January 20, 1963, Foreign Minister Subandrio announced Konfrontasi with Malaysia. On April 12, Indonesian volunteers””allegedly Indonesian Army personnel“” started operations.
    On August 16, troops of the Brigade of Gurkhas clashed with fifty Indonesian guerrillas.

    On 28 September 1963, a small, successful (though strategically irrelevant) raid was conducted by the Indonesians on the village of Long Jawe, almost wiping out the entire Gurkha Rifles garrison.
    In early 1964, Indonesian attacks managed to render the strategic Tebedu-Serian-Kuching road unsafe for months, and additional small scale air raids were launched in the Kelabit Highlands on civilian settlements.

    This all caused by IRREGULARS.

    If you read your history books- you will see that the US and Javanese generals had cleverly detained all assault troops in Java- because most agreed Sukarno’s Konfrontasi was an unnecessary and nonstrategic ego projection. Irian was far more important.
    Suharto too was well known for being oppositional to Konfrontasi.

    Regarding East Timor- Indonesia had to pull out two brigades of troops before Australians could land. This was negotiated by Clinton and Cohen. Howard was terrified Australia would be deoimated especially since the US was highly disinterested in this useless aggravation of a long-term ally.

    The killing in Timor was undertaken by paramilitaries only.
    From Amnesty International:
    Halilintar, Tim Alfa, Makikit, Tim Saka, Sakuna, Railakan, Ainaro, Tim Suai; Sakunar Team; Morok Manatuto Team in Manututo and Liquisa Team. These units wear military uniforms and are armed allegedly from ABRI .
    How are we to believe this poorly substantiated slander? It could be Chinese gun-runners or even corrupt East Timorese Army personnel.

    Naga: perhaps you may objectively cross-evaluate national progress and development when your had also been raped and pillaged for over 300 years by the same apartheid-loving Colonials of South Africa.

    Do not forget we expelled the Japanese, Dutch and the British with obsolete weapons and bamboo spears.
    Imagine what can be accomplished with 17000 crack troops who have been trained by US green Berets, British and Australian SAS and German GSG9, equipped with the very latest Russian equipment and I sincerely hope Australia will test our mettle in Irian.

    But I suppose, you have shown yourself to be a bigoted blustering ignoramus, like many Aussies.

  27. avatar Aluang Anak Bayang says:

    On 28 September 1963, a small, successful (though strategically irrelevant) raid was conducted by the Indonesians on the village of Long Jawe, almost wiping out the entire Gurkha Rifles garrison

    Naga is another dumb Ozzie, no wonder.

    The Gurkha is considered the best trained soldier. We can easily wipe them off. Reminded of the Mongolian army where others doomed, our Javanese warriors defeated them.

  28. avatar pj_bali says:

    Imagine what can be accomplished with 17000 crack troops who have been trained by US green Berets, British and Australian SAS and German GSG9, equipped with the very latest Russian equipment and I sincerely hope Australia will test our mettle in Irian.

    They would have to quit their day job first 🙂

  29. avatar Riyoz says:

    Who the heck needs weapons….people are starving here !!…Yo. Mr. Purba…”blabbering lick-spittle Chinamen” that’s kinda racist, don’t you think ?…..keep it down, man….

  30. avatar sputjam says:

    aluang anak bayang said-

    The Gurkha is considered the best trained soldier. We can easily wipe them off. Reminded of the Mongolian army where others doomed, our Javanese warriors defeated them.

    This is indeed news to me. Monggolian army raiding java? what the heck for? They already go the best woman and cities to rape and loot in china.
    As I know it, the thais were driven south from yunan by the Monggolian hordes. but nothing more concerning their adventure in south east asia.

    Purba negoro said –

    Do not forget we expelled the Japanese, Dutch and the British with obsolete weapons and bamboo spears.

    I think the more likely reason was that they (japanese/dutch/british) voluntarily retreated due to tropical diseases and unbearable heat. Otherwise the indonesian may end up like the red indians.

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