The Indonesian Air Force (Tentara Nasional Indonesia-Angkatan Udara) ordered a total of 12 F-16A/B block 15OCU aircraft. An additional order for 9 aircraft (from the embargoed Pakistani order) and plans for the acquisition of up to 60 F-16s were cancelled and replaced with 4 Flankers. Indonesia's F-16s are employed in both air defense and ground attack roles, although lack of advanced weapons and navigation/targeting equipment limits them to daylight operations.
Indonesian AF F-16A in air superiority blue color scheme, prior to delivery. [LMTAS
In the early 80s, Indonesia started to look at various options to replace some of the OV-10F Bronco's that were in service in Indonesia. The aircraft were amongst others necessary to protect the substantial gas claims in the South china Sea. In 1986, the Indonesian Air Force settled on the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
In 1999, the US imposed a ban on military aid to Indonesia after it was accused of taking part in violence in East Timor during that territory's break from Indonesia. The ban had a serious impact on the combat readiness of Indonesia's F-16 fleet, mainly due to a lack of spare parts. The ban was lifted in November 2005.
In August of 1986, Indonesia signed a letter of agreement for 12 F-16A/B Block 15OCU (Operational Capability Upgrade) aircraft. The first F-16 was delivered to the Tentara Nasional Indonesia-Angkatan Udara (Indonesian Air Force) in December 1989, under the Peace Bima-Sena Foreign Military Sales Program. Deliveries were completed in 1990.
The aircraft originally received a smart blue/white color scheme (replaced by the Millenium colour scheme in 2000), and have a parachute fairing present in the tail root. Serial numbers occupy the TS-1601/TS-1612 range, and the aircraft wear the national roundel on the left wing.
In 1995, the TNI-AU also formed an F-16 demonstration team, known as Elang Biru (Blue Falcon). All aircraft received a striking blue/yellow colour scheme from December 1995 onwards (however, they retained their operational role). A few years later, the team was disbanded and the F-16s received the new Millennium colour scheme in early 2000.
Two Indonesian vipers, fully armed with 4x AIM-9
and 2x AGM-65
missiles, flying low (200 ft) over Gulf Of Popoh, South of East Java Province. [Photo by Capt.Agung "Sharky" Sasongkojati]
Cancelled follow-up order
In March 1996, Indonesian Air Force Chief of Staff, Air Vice Marshall Sutria Tubagus, signed a contract with General Dynamics-Lockheed Martin for procurement of an additional 9 F-16A block 15. The aircraft would be assigned the serial numbers TS-1613 up to TS-1621, and they had already been manufactured for Pakistan but were under embargo following the Pressler amendment. Indonesia's payment for these 9 F-16s was meant to reimburse Pakistan for the already paid for order. All of these F-16s were to be assigned to the 3rd squadron to bring it in full squadron strength of 20 combat aircraft (NATO standard). The Indonesian Air Force or TNIAU, considering her task to protect a territory of in total 12 million square kilometers, intended to acquire a total of 60 F-16s to give an adequate air defense capability.
However, on June 2nd, 1997, president Soeharto of Indonesia cancelled the order. At first, the re-election of president Clinton was thought to be the cause, but later it appeared that frequent accusations by the American government, of Indonesia violating human rights, was the main cause. Indonesia also withdrew from the US Expanded International Military Education and Training Program for the same reason. On August 5th, 1997, Indonesia announced it would proceed with a buy of 12 Su-30K fighters instead. The contract (12 Su-30K and 8 Mi-17V), worth approximately USD $600 million, will be partly paid for with Indonesian palm oil. Only 2 Su-27's and 2 Su-30's where delivered in 2003. More are expected to be delivered as funding permits.
In 2010 the first rumors arose that a new order would be imminent. In the summer of 2011 information became a little more clear that this order would compromise up to 24 ex-USAF F-16C/D's of the block 25 version. These would be upgraded to block 32 status. Six more airframes (4 block 25 and 2 block 15) would also be included as spare part resource. The total investment would be around $600 million and these airframes would replace the surviving F-5E/F's that are flown with Skadron Udara 14 which is also based at Iswahjudi AB. In November of 2011 this order was confirmed during a visit of President Obama to the country. The order has a value of $750 million. The order also includes a number of SNIPER or LITENING pods.
Modifications & Armament
Nothing special is known about the Indonesian F-16s possibilities. It is widely understood that Indonesia only has ordered basic weaponry, being dumb bombs, AIM-9 missiles and SUU-20 practice dispensers to equip its F-16s. Although capable of performing medium profile missions with its aircraft, the TNIAU lacks funding to upgrade its F-16s to a more modern standard, leaving it a pure daytime dogfighter with a limited daytime attacking capability. However, recently they have been seen flying with AGM-65 missiles as well, showing their capability in the attack role.
TNI-AU F-16A #TS-1606
in the Indonesian AF's Elang Biru (Blue Falcons) Demonstration Team's color scheme. The team's aircraft have an operational task as well as evidenced by the 4x AIM-9 and 2x AGM-65 missiles on this aircraft. [Photo by Major Agung "Sharky" Sasongkojati]
Please refer to the F-16 Units
section for an overview of units.