On July 10th, 2020, Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto sent an official letter to Austrian Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner stating Indonesia's interest in buying 15 Eurofighter Typhoon fighter aircraft to strengthen the military defense equipment. However, the aircraft to be purchased are not new, but used by the Austrian Armed Forces.
Imparsial views that the idea of buying a used Eurofighter Typhoon fighter from Austria is not only inappropriate, but also has the potential to create new problems in the future. The idea of buying it will repeat the mistakes of the past, where the procurement of used defense equipment raises the problem of accountability for the defense budget and what is even more dangerous is that its use by TNI soldiers faces the risk of accidents.
The government should learn from experience when purchasing used defense equipment in the past, be it planes, ships, tanks and others, which had a number of technical problems and had several accidents. The effort to modernize the TNI's defense equipment to strengthen Indonesia's defense is an important step and must be supported. As the main component of national defense, the TNI needs to be equipped with better, stronger, and modern military defense equipment to support its main tasks and functions in guarding and protecting Indonesia's defense areas. However, it is important to note that this step must be carried out by the government in an accountable, transparent manner, and taking into account the availability of the budget and the needs of the TNI itself. This is important to ensure that the procurement of TNI defense equipment supports efforts to strengthen Indonesia's national defense and does not create new problems in the future.
Imparsial also views that the planned purchase of a used Eurofighter Typhoon fighter has the potential to cause deviations due to the absence of a fixed price standard. Transparency International in its 'Government Defense Anti-Corruption Index 2015' survey shows that the risk of corruption in the military/defense sector in Indonesia is still relatively high. In the survey, the risk of corruption in the military/defense sector in Indonesia is still high with a D score, on par with countries such as Namibia, Kenya, and Bangladesh.
For the record, the procurement of the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter is also involved in the issue of alleged bribery and sharp criticism within Austria itself. In 2017, the Austrian government filed a lawsuit against Airbus in the Munich court, Germany, for alleged bribes by the company that manufactures the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter aircraft to Austrian officials. The Austrian government stated that there was a loss of USD 1.7 million from the total purchase contract of USD 2.4 billion. This case ended with Airbus being obliged to pay a fine of USD 99 million. Not only that, Airbus is also said to be still facing legal proceedings related to allegations of fraud and corruption in the Austrian Court.
Furthermore, any procurement of defense equipment must be carried out in accordance with the provisions of Law no. 16 of 2012 concerning the Defense Industry. In this case, the procurement of new defense equipment should be considered with the offset mechanism or technology transfer. In addition, the Ministry of Defense must focus on the independence of the defense industry so that the procurement of defense equipment should prioritize domestic purchases.
Based on the description above, Imparsial urges:
- Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto canceled plans to purchase second-hand Eurofighter Typhoon fighter aircraft from Austria;
- Commission I of the House of Representatives to reject the plan to purchase second-hand fighter aircraft belonging to Austria which is full of corruption problems;
- The government to open a plan to purchase defense equipment in a transparent and accountable manner.
Jakarta, July 22nd, 2020
Al Araf (Director) 081381694847
Gufron (Vice Director) 081213340612
Hussein Ahmad (Researcher) 081259668916