The US State Department on Thursday approved the potential $14 billion sale to Indonesia of 36 F-15 fighter jets and other assorted military equipment.
The proposed sale will improve “the security of an important regional partner that is a force for political stability, and economic progress in the Asia-Pacific region,” said a statement, adding that it “will not alter the basic military balance in the region.”
It did not mention China, whose rise Washington is seeking to counter in the region, and gave no indication when the sale could be concluded.
Indonesia Buys French Rafale Jets
The announcement comes on the same day Indonesia ordered 42 Rafale fighter jets from France.
Indonesia’s first order for French warplanes comes as Jakarta replaces an aging fleet — consisting mainly of American F-16s and Russian Sukhois — as concerns grow about rising US-China tensions in Asia.
The Rafale agreement was announced as Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto met his French counterpart Florence Parly in Jakarta.
Subianto confirmed a deal had been struck for the purchase of the jets, with a contract signed Thursday relating to the first six.
France’s defense ministry said the contract for the 42 aircraft and their weapons was worth 7.1 billion euros ($8.1 billion).
Spokesman Herve Grandjean said the two countries also signed a letter of intent for research and development with a view to Indonesia ordering two Scorpene submarines.