It's official, French Minister of the Army Florence Parly has just announced the acquisition of 42 Rafales by Indonesia, a figure higher than previous estimates and leaks.
A success beyond expectations
The Rafale keeps winning export contracts. Indonesia and France had already approached each other and signed a preliminary partnership last June, as we revealed to you (see this article), but the fleet until then envisaged was 36 aircraft.
The KF-X co-developed with South Korea had been knocked out of the running a few years ago, followed by Indonesia's cancellation of the Sukhoi Su-35 contract (detailed article to be read here) had left the field open for two Western aircraft: the F-15 EX, the latest evolution of the American aircraft, and the Rafale.
The purchase of 42 Rafales does not, however, close the door on the F-15EX as Indonesia wants to renew its fighter fleet with at least 100 new aircraft. This number is a minimum for a country that still has 275 million inhabitants, spread over 17,500 islands in an area (from east to west) of 5,200 km. The country is also facing growing tensions with China, which claims the Indonesian islands of Natuna in the South China Sea.
Dassault Aviation has the wind in its sails
As far as order distribution is concerned, an initial contract has been signed for six aircraft to be delivered as early as 2025 in the F3-R standard and will make Indonesia the seventh country to import the Dassault fighter. The aircraft's order book continues to grow, with 86 Rafales on order at December 31, 2021, compared with 62 at the end of 2020. It could increase further, particularly in India, where the Rafale Marine is competing with Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet for the new aircraft carrier equipped with a springboard rather than catapults as on the Charles de Gaulle.
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