Indonesia air force holds its largest military exercise in South China Sea

Indonesian Air Force Sukhoi fighter pilots and crew walk across the tarmac after training for an upcoming military exercise at Hang Nadim Airport, Batam, Riau Islands, Indonesia October 3, 2016 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Picture taken October 3, 2016. Antara Foto/M N Kanwa/ via REUTERS

Indonesian Air Force Sukhoi fighter pilots and crew walk across the tarmac after training for an upcoming military exercise at Hang Nadim Airport, Batam, Riau Islands, Indonesia October 3, 2016 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Picture taken October 3, 2016. Antara Foto/M N Kanwa/ via REUTERS

Indonesia’s air force is holding its largest military exercise this week, near some of its islands in the South China Sea, in a show of sovereignty over the gas-rich area on the fringe of territory claimed by China, officials said on Tuesday.

President Joko Widodo in June launched an unprecedented campaign to bolster fishing, oil exploration and defense facilities around the Natuna island chain after a series of face-offs between the Indonesian navy and Chinese fishing boats.

China, while not disputing Indonesia’s clams to the Natuna islands, has raised Indonesian anger by saying the two countries had “over-lapping claims” to waters near them, an area Indonesia calls the Natuna Sea.

“We want to show our existence in the area. We have a good enough air force to act as a deterrent,” said Jemi Trisonjaya, spokesman for Indonesia’s air force.

More than 2,000 air force personnel were taking part in the two-week long exercise, which includes the deployment of Indonesia’s fleet of Russian Sukhoi and F-16 fighter jets, he said.

Other branches of the Indonesian armed forces are not taking part in exercise, which ends on Thursday.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, where about $5 trillion worth of trade passes every year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.

Source: Reuters “Indonesia air force holds its largest military exercise in South China Sea”

Note: This is Reuters report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.


4 Comments on “Indonesia air force holds its largest military exercise in South China Sea”

  1. Joseph says:

    In the link below is the fate of the gift F-16s that the American ‘gives’ Indonesia.
    Under the previous regime, Indonesia agreed to accept American F-16s as ‘gift’. Those junks were not actually ‘free’ as Indonesia has to pay US$ 120 million each to refurbish them, which makes them more expensive than new F-16s. Nobody actually bother to mention to Indonesian public about the ‘refurbishment’, which indicates corruption. Of the 24 F-16s, 16 was delivered, and already, six was written off. Upon arrival, one caught fire upon landing with the pilot barely ejected with burn injuries, while two have structural crack damages. Further inspection reveals that three more have dangerous structural defect which can break apart in mid-air. One should wonder what did the American actually refurbish? New paint works? Patch up weldings? The F-16 should be named Ford-16. The American refuses to take responsibility as those F-16s were ‘free’, and the ‘as is’ contract nullifies any refurbishment warranty. Basically it was a blunt rip-off by a bankrupt ‘superpower’. The current Indonesian administration is currently launching a corruption investigation over the deal.
    The American wants to coerce Indonesia to make those F-16s ‘patrol’ SCS against China, symbolizing Indonesia joining the American against China, at least for media fanfare. But even if Indonesia agrees to join American side, those junks are not flying. No pilots would fly them as even the ejecting seats are defective. Perhaps it also way those junks did not come with missiles. No missiles, defective frames, defective ejecting seat, they are basic kamikaze planes. They might ‘give’ the F-16s to the Japanese if the Japanese has $120 million for each. The Japanese is always obsessed with kamikaze, we are not. This may be the reason why Reuters broke the reporting taboo to even mention Indonesian fleet of Russian-built reliable Sukhoi, equipped with Chinese missiles.


  2. Joseph says:

    Yes, Reuters. Do they even have presence in Indonesia? As usual, their reporting is out of touch. Every regional operations will be connected with ‘fighting China’. The truth is, the region is not that diabolical. Even if it is about sovereignty, that Indonesian navy exercise was intended more to keep Malaysian navy to infringe Indonesian water than Reuters’ reported ‘fighting China’ purposes. Rampant Malaysian navy incursions are always the talks in Indonesia. However smugglers and piracy are the most obvious target of the operations. When Indonesian president Jokowi went to G-20 Hangzhou, he brought along his new Maritime Security Minister Luhut Panjaitan, to coordinate Indonesian navy patrols and exercises. Luhut’s appointment as newly established Maritime Security Ministry was solely to keep in check the troublesome Fishery Minister Susi Pudjiastuti. As per his appointment, Luhut is now in charge of those Indonesian warships that was used by Susi to make problem with China. The American has successfully made Susi their propaganda icon to do their biddings that she would be an American martyr if she is sacked. Thus undermining Jokowi’s effort to detoxify Indonesia from Americanism.


  3. Fre Okin says:

    Like the Susi woman who run the Fishery department, Indonesian air force leaders should understand UNCLOS before they talk tough about enforcing Indonesian territorial waters.

    The recent PCA ruling ‘Taiping Island is a rock’ applies equally to the Natuna Archipelago, just like the Spratlys Archipelago.

    The operative word is ‘Archipelago’. There is no such thing as a Blanket 200 NM EEZ sea around the Natuna Archipelago as belonging to Indonesia, even if centered on the Big Natuna island. The archipelago rules in UNCLOS applies, not the Coastline of countries like Vietnam, China, US Land Mass etc as criteria for 200 NM EEZ expansive claim around Natuna ‘islands’.

    The smaller ‘rocks’ as defined by PCA are those places where foreign fishermen from China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippine, Thailand, Myanmar etc Can Fish as long as they stay Outside the 12 NM or Even The 500 Meter of Reefs, Shoals sea Facing Away from the Outermost Perimeter of the Natuna Achipelago.

    If Indonesia persist in arresting them and sinking their boats, fining and jailing them, Indonesia will find herself hauled up before the United Nation and have to pay for all the damages done to the foreign fishermen.

    This is a long game. All countries with fishermen there should gang up and haul Indonesia before UN. The sooner Indonesia stop her foolishness, the better for her. The Indonesian government should educate her citizenry Exactly how UNCLOS interpret maritime law, at least as clarified by PCA. Indonesia do not have the luxury to interpret international maritime laws as she please.


    • Sentinel says:

      How would one classify Australia or Japan? Or even the main islands of Indonesia? “Main land” or archipelago? Where does the “relativity” end? Personally, they should all be classified as “rocks”. 12 mile territorial limit only; No 200 miles EEZ! Lol