France asserted on Wednesday that it was willing to provide an industrial cooperation with Indonesia should the Dassault Rafale jet fighter be selected to modernize the Indonesian Air Force.
French Ambassador to Indonesia Corinne Breuzé said that France was open to all cooperation possibilities involving French aircraft maker Dassault Aviation and state-owned aircraft maker PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PT DI).
Other than technology transfer, she said that being 100 percent French, the Rafale would allow its users independence. “It is designed with Safran/Snecma for the engine, Thales for the avionics and MBDA for the armament,” she said.
Breuzé was speaking at an event to introduce the French jet fighter to the Indonesian public, at the Halim Perdanakusuma Air Force Base in East Jakarta.
She said that the decision to bring the Rafale to Jakarta, despite a high level of operational engagement especially in Iraq, was made by the French defense minister and air force following a courtesy call from Indonesian Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu, who met his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian on March 10.
Ryamizard also visited the Rafale’s assembly line in Bordeaux-Merignac during the March visit.
Two Rafale jet fighters, a Rafale B double-seater and a Rafale C single-seater, arrived on Monday from the just-concluded 2015 Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) exhibition in Malaysia.
On Tuesday, the jet fighters performed three flights for Indonesian Air Force pilots who flew on the Rafale B, taking the back seat.
There was also a solo aerobatic display performed by Capt. Benoit Blanche of the French Air Force.
The Rafale is a latecomer in the competition to replace the aging American-made F-5 E/F Tiger II operated by the Indonesian Air Force.
The French jet fighter is facing tough competition, locking horns with a stable of other contenders including the Russian-made Sukhoi Su-35, American-made F-16 Block 60, Swedish-made Saab JAS-39 Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon, a collaboration between Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.
The Indonesian Air Force has repeatedly said it prefers the Su-35, the latest iteration of the Flanker family of jet fighters, although the final decision will be made by the Defense Ministry.
Meanwhile, Dassault Aviation executive vice president for America, Africa and Asia military sales JPHP Chabriol told The Jakarta Post that the best example of French will to transfer technology was India, which selected the Rafale.
He said that from an order of 126 units, 18 were supposed to be produced in France and the rest to be produced locally by Indian industries through progressive transfer of technology.
“From French authorities’ point of view as well as from French industry, there is no limitation to transfer technologies of the Rafale to friendly foreign countries,” he said.
“The only constraints we have are linked to the budgetary aspect, good sense and cost efficiency.”
He said Dassault and all associated French companies were quite open to discussions with Indonesian actors to set up a program that suited Indonesian requirements.
“We are not imposing anything; we are ready for discussion to define what is the optimized scheme of transfer of technology in the framework of the Rafale bid,” Chabriol said.
Other than technology transfer, Chabriol emphasized that Indonesia would get total independence if it selected the Rafale because, as it is a 100-percent French product, Indonesia would not have to deal with a third party.
Another advantage of buying the Rafale, he added, was that it could be deployed with very minimal logistical support. (The Jakarta Post)