Summary: The United States Department of Defense has announced that it is planning to sell eight Apache attack helicopters to Jakarta as it seeks to bolster ties with Southeast Asia.
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel revealed the $500m deal which is aimed at strengthening military ties as part of the US ‘pivot’ towards the Asia-Pacific amid concern about Beijing’s growing assertiveness. The deal also includes pilot training and radar.
Officials have yet to comment on when the helicopters, to be delivered by US aircraft maker Boeing, would be released.
The decision marks an apparent reversal of opinion from the US, as the States had previously frozen defence cooperation and arms sales to Indonesia over concerns about abuses during President Suharto’s three-decade rule, which ended in 1998. Military ties were only restored as recently as 2005.
The US military will train Indonesian pilots and help in developing tactics, techniques and procedures for operating in the Southeast Asian security environment.
The agreement represents a significant advance in military capabilities by a key US partner and is the sort of investment the United States believes is prudent to support security in the Asia-Pacific region.
Mr Hagel said: “Providing Indonesia these world-class helicopters is an example of our commitment to help build Indonesia’s military capability.”
As the deal goes ahead, it could mean more opportunities opening up in future between the US and South East Asia.
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