Indonesia announces the purchase of 12 new Turkish-made combat drones, becoming the first Asian country to purchase Türkiye’s UAVs.
Indonesia has bought 12 new drones from Turkish Aerospace Industries (TUSAS) worth $300 million, its defence ministry said, the latest in a series of purchases aimed at modernising the country’s ageing military equipment.
The announcement made on Tuesday stated that the total value of 12 new Anka Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs) is $300 million.
The deal comes after Indonesian President Joko Widodo in July warned his cabinet to maintain a “healthy” budget as he highlighted outsized spending by the country’s security agencies, including the defence ministry.
In January, Jakarta’s Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto sealed an $800-million deal to buy 12 Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets, which drew criticism as they were considered too old.
Indonesia in February also bought 42 Rafale fighter jets for $8.1 billion, which will be disbursed in phases over several years.
At $8.89 billion, the defence ministry has the biggest allocation from the country’s total budget this year, according to government data.
The deal with Ankara-based Turkish Aerospace Industries was finalised in February and the drones are expected to be delivered within 32 months of the signing. It also includes training and flight simulators, the defence ministry said in a statement.
Anka performs day and night all-weather reconnaissance, target detection and identification, and intelligence missions, featuring autonomous flight capability including automatic takeoff and landing.
Earlier this month, Turkish drone manufacturer Baykar signed the largest defence deal in Turkish history with Saudi Arabia.
‘A new era’
Following Indonesia’s announcement on the purchase, Turkish ambassador to Jakarta, Talip Kucukcan, said Türkiye and Indonesia have vast potential for cooperation in a wide range of sectors, from the defence industry to the economy.
“A new era is beginning,” the ambassador told Anadolu in an interview on relations between the two countries, underlining that the areas they could boost cooperation include “the economy, education, defence industry, processing of raw materials, and their transfer to global markets, and possibly the establishment of a common security umbrella.”
Pointing out that, with its population of 280 million, Indonesia stands as the fourth-largest country in the world and is home to the most Muslims, Kucukcan said it is a country crucial for Türkiye at a time when the geopolitical weight in the world is shifting to the Asia-Pacific region.
“In this respect, it is important to review the relations between Indonesia and Türkiye and to advance them through structural reforms,” Kucukcan added.
With agreements made in recent years in this field, Turkish defence industry products have started to enter the inventory of the Indonesian army, he said.
Kucukcan also emphasised Türkiye’s expertise in infrastructure services, with companies listed among the top 50 in the world in the construction sector.
“Indonesia is a country that had a foreign trade surplus of $50 billion in 2022, but its infrastructure needs are quite high,” he added.
“This is an important area of cooperation,” said the diplomat, noting that Turkish companies are preferred in this area.
One great investment opportunity in the Southeast Asian country is the construction of its planned new capital city in its province of East Kalimantan.
“This is a project that will cost approximately $30-40 billion. The Indonesian government is doing 20-25 percent of it by itself. It’s opening the rest to international investors,
“A new capital city means (new) infrastructure services, buildings, irrigation, environment, energy. We see that Turkish companies are very attractive in all these,” he said.
Commerce and diplomacy
In bilateral trade, the two nations have set a target of $10 billion, Kucukcan noted, adding that the current level was at $3 billion, with Turkish exports covering about one-sixth of this figure.
He also pointed to notable developments in diplomatic relations, with Indonesian authorities recently inviting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the country for an official visit.
Last month also saw Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan hold talks at a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta.
Türkiye and Indonesia, cooperating in international organizations such as the UN, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), G-20, D-8, and the five-nation MIKTA bloc, have also recently shown they are willing to work more closely in the fight against Islamophobia.