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KFX/IFX: Indonesia-Korea Cooperation on Fighter Jets in 2008

Pesawat Jet Tempur KFX/IFX
Credit : Pinterest

International cooperation, especially in the aviation industry, is the most rational choice. Of course, this cooperation can gain many benefits for each country, such as the transfer of technology as well as cutting the research and development budget and a more advanced defense sector.

This cooperation began in 2008, when South Korea offered Indonesia to cooperate in the process of developing the KFX / IFX fighter aircraft or Korean Fighter Experimental / Indonesian Fighter Experimental. The purpose of this cooperation is important, because Indonesia will get 48 units of fighter aircraft, while South Korea gets 120 units of fighter aircraft. Of course this will make the defense sector and military capabilities of each country stronger. The cooperation also has a major focus on each country’s defense industry. It marks a significant achievement in each country’s efforts to strengthen defense capabilities and expand strategic partnerships in Asia.

The most important national interest is the birth of “independence” which means being able to produce, operate and be independent from the intervention of other countries. This cooperation, which began in 2008, became the existence of each country’s vision and to strengthen its position in global defense. South Korea, which has a relatively advanced Defense Industry and its technology is quite sophisticated. Indonesia, which has a wealth of natural resources and its strategic position in the Southeast Asia region, is a suitable partner in this cooperation. Moreover, this cooperation is very beneficial for Indonesia, with access to new knowledge and new technology.

In addition to the national interests that I have mentioned earlier, the cooperation in developing the KFX / IFX fighter aircraft can also help the defense needs of each country’s air force and this fighter aircraft can also be a superior product that can be promoted in the international market sector. Regional security is also involved because of access to fighter aircraft, Indonesia or South Korea can increase their capabilities in maintaining the sovereignty and national security of each country.

When it comes to air defense strategy, there are two basic things that must be embraced from the defense and security sector. Deterrence effect and Standing Force. It is hoped that the presence of fighter jets will be able to provide effective deterrence and provide a view to the opponent that Indonesia is a strong country. Of course this will make the opponent reluctant to attack.

Standing force here is carried out in order to balance the strength of the opponent. Indonesia, with its peaceful principles, will certainly never go head to head with any country. Indonesia, which is a member of ASEAN, always holds the principles of peace and prioritizes the principle of Confidence Building Measures (CBM), but conflicts between ASEAN members are still inevitable. Examples can be taken from the conflict between Indonesia and Malaysia and Cambodia’s conflict with Thailand. Therefore, increasing power in the defense sector is the main thing when countries are involved in an arms race or nuclear arms race. The KFX / IFX fighter is important because Indonesia still needs additional strength and squadrons in order to compensate for the strength of the opponent.

Indonesia’s fighter squadrons to date only number eight with fighter aircraft that need to be increased in number, therefore, the development of the KFX / IFX fighter aircraft will add strength to three squadrons located at Sam Ratulangi Airfield, El Tari Airfield, and Manuhua Airfield which aims to guard Indonesia’s outermost borders, considering our geographical area is very wide and requires strict guarding. Here, the independence of the defense industry becomes essential. Creating an independent defense industry is an absolute necessity due to the diverse forms of military and non-military threats in the region today.

In the context of this collaborative development, Indonesia needs to catch up with South Korea in terms of technological readiness. In order to level the playing field with South Korea, it also needs to improve its industrial capability and readiness. To achieve implementation maturity at the next stage, the production stage, a series of strategic investments are required. The cooperation in the development of the KFX/IFX fighter aircraft between South Korea and Indonesia is a clear case study of strategic international cooperation between the two countries in facing modern security challenges.

Through this cooperation, each country was able to successfully combine their respective expertise and resources to produce innovative and advanced defense products. With this international cooperation taking place, South Korea and Indonesia can further optimize their position in the regional and global scene and their defense capabilities for the future to be more secure and stable.

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