Indonesia has cancelled plans to purchase secondhand Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets from Qatar in a €733 million deal (890 million dollars), Reuters reported citing a spokesman for the defense ministry late on Saturday.
“There is no purchase of Mirage jets. Even though it was planned, it has been cancelled … meaning there is no active contract,” spokesperson Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak said in a statement but did not provide further details.
The ministry said last month that financial difficulties had caused the agreement to buy the 12 fighter jets to be postponed and that the military would instead order a retrofit for its current F-16 and Sukhoi aircraft.
The planned purchase when it was revealed last year, was immediately met with lawmakers’ disapproval as they believed the used jets were outdated.
Moreover, the front-runner for Indonesia’s presidency on Feb. 14, Defense Minister Prabowo Subiantok, has faced criticism regarding the agreement from rival contenders during the campaign.
Nonetheless, he defended the purchase during a presidential debate, claiming that the nation needed the used aircraft while it waited for its new ones to arrive and that they were still good for another 15 years.
Under Prabowo’s direction, the armed forces have been updating their ageing fleet with Rafale fighter jets, drones from Turkish Aerospace, and fighter jets and transport helicopters from Boeing and Lockheed Martin in the United States.
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