Monday, October 5, 2009

400 Exhibitors Expected at Indonesian Expo

Defense News


400 Exhibitors Expected at Indonesian Expo

By Wendell Minnick

Taipei - Indonesia's third triservice Indo Defence 2008 Expo & Forum will run Nov. 19-22 at Halim Perdanakusuma Air Force Base, Jakarta. The commercial aviation Indo Aerospace Expo & Forum will be held in conjunction with Indo Defence.

Indonesia's Department of Defense is hosting the event, which is scheduled to have more than 400 exhibitors.

"A record of 17,000 trade buyers, including 128 overseas delegates from 37 countries, registered for the 4-day event of which 51.33% are in position to recommend or make a purchasing decision," said a show press release.

The theme for this show's Regional Defence Forum is "Harnessing Technologies for Defence Capabilities."

"The forum will provide the perfect opportunity for defense and security professional practitioners to network with industry leaders," said the press release.

Exhibitors include BAE Systems, Brahmos Aerospace, Doosan, EADS, Honeywell, Hyundai, Kazan Helicopters, Korea Aerospace Industries, Poongsan, Rolls-Royce, Rosoboronexport, Rotem, Singapore Technologies Kinetics and Sukhoi.

There are also country pavilions, including those for the Czech Republic, Germany, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, Poland, Russia and Singapore.

There is no U.S. pavilion, and U.S. defense companies appear reluctant to exhibit this year, with only a small number listed. The primary reason has to do with Russian dominance of the Indonesian defense market, Indonesia's small defense budget ($3.95 billion in fiscal '08), Russian flexibility on barter deals and Jakarta's fear of another U.S.-backed arms embargo.

In 1999, Indonesia invaded East Timor. The United States and European Union responded with arms embargos, which the European Union lifted in 2000 and the United States in 2005. Indonesia's C-130s, F-16s and F-5s were seriously affected by a parts shortage, and the country turned to Russia for new fighter jets and helicopters. There have also been discussions, not yet concluded, on procuring Russian Kilo-class submarines.

In 2003, Indonesia ordered five Russian Sukhoi Su-27 and five Su-30 Flanker fighters. But with the lifting of U.S. sanctions in 2005, Jakarta began discussing the option of procuring more Lockheed Martin F-16s and C-130Js.

Sukhoi will demonstrate the Su-35 Flanker and Su-30MK2 fighters along with the Superjet 100 medium-haul airliner at the show this week.

Indonesia also has expressed interest in the French Dassault Mirage 2000-5 and Rafale fighters, the Chinese Chengdu J-10 and the joint Chinese/Pakistani FC-1 Fierce Dragon/JF-17 Thunder fighter.

However, big procurements could be on hold. In March, the Indonesian government announced cuts in the defense budget of 14.8 percent from the current $3.95 billion to $3.36 billion. This drop could get worse as the new economic crisis begins to spread across Asia.

Likely alternatives over expensive U.S. and European arms could be Chinese and Russian weapons that include barter deals and flexible payment schedules. Both countries are anxious to establish closer links in Southeast Asia for potential port and base access and co-production deals for smaller arms.

Indonesia and China have been in negotiations over joint production of military vehicles, tanks and missiles. The deal is part of a 2007 defense cooperation agreement between China and Indonesia for military training and arms production.