Planned cooperation between Indonesia and South Korea to start a joint project on jet fighter production received strong support from a lawmaker and researcher here on Friday but they warned that it will need to undergo feasibility studies.
“The joint cooperation is good for Indonesia because it will help us revitalize our defense industry.
However it is strongly recommended both countries conduct thorough feasibility study,” Kemal Azis Stamboel, lawmaker from the House of Representatives Commission I overseeing defense and intelligence told The Jakarta Post on Friday.
Kemal added that among points to be looked into in the study would be an assessment of possible future conflict between the two countries.
“This policy applies for all potential partner countries because of course we don’t want to be caught out if it occurs,” he added.
Initiated during a visit to Indonesia by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak last year, both countries are now gearing up to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the fighter production, which will be called “KFX project”.
According to secretary-general of the Defense Ministry Deputy Marshal Eris Haryanto, the MoU is likely to be signed at the end of this year. After the signing, a joint team comprising experts from both countries will be formed.
This team would be tasked with building five prototypes of the aircraft before 2020. After achieving the break even point target of 200 units, the aircraft will be ready for mass production.
Military expert from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences Jaleswari Pramodhawardani said the project offers Indonesia a rare chance to develop its defense industry.
“There is always a risk in everything but in my opinion we should take this risk,” she said.
However, she said the project would cost a huge part of the budget, meaning the Indonesian Military may have to work hard to convince lawmakers to grant funding.
Under the MoU, Indonesia will shoulder 20 percent of the initial budget of US$8 billion, which Kemal described as “reasonable”.
The joint project is widely seen as a pilot project for Indonesian military in revitalizing defense industry. The Indonesian military is now perfecting an draft paper on boosting the country’s defense industry.