Indonesia Scraps Plan to Buy Mirage Fighter Jets From Qatar
Indonesia cancels Mirage fighter jets purchase from Qatar, citing fiscal constraints; defense ministry clarifies no active contract for acquisition.
Indonesia has abandoned its controversial plan to acquire Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets from Qatar, worth 733 million euros ($790 million), according to the defense ministry spokesperson. The decision, disclosed on Saturday, clarified that there is no active contract for the Mirage jets, and the planned purchase has been canceled. The spokesperson, Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak, did not provide further details.
Last month, the ministry cited fiscal constraints as the reason for delaying the deal to purchase 12 secondhand Mirage fighter jets. Instead, the military intended to retrofit its existing Sukhoi and F-16 aircraft. The initial announcement of the Mirage jet purchase sparked controversy in the previous year, with lawmakers expressing concerns about the age of the secondhand aircraft.
Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto, a leading candidate in Indonesia's presidential election on Feb. 14, faced criticism from rivals over the deal. During a presidential debate, Prabowo defended the purchase, stating that the secondhand Mirage jets still had a viable lifespan of 15 years and were necessary while the country awaited the arrival of new jets.
Prabowo has been instrumental in modernizing Indonesia's aging military fleet, overseeing the acquisition of Rafale fighter jets, Turkish Aerospace drones, and fighter jets and transport helicopters from U.S. companies Boeing and Lockheed Martin.