Indonesia Finally Signs A400M Deal For Two Aircraft

Indonesian A400M concept
Credit: Airbus concept

SINGAPORE—After years of rumors, Airbus has confirmed the Indonesian Ministry of Defense has ordered two Airbus A400M transport aircraft and signed a letter of intent for four more. 

The contract, which includes a maintenance and training support package, takes effect in 2022. 

Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto also hinted his country is exploring new A400M capabilities with Airbus, such as firefighting aircraft. He said the A400M will “enhance the Indonesian Air Force’s tactical air-to-air capabilities,” and perform a “key role” in other missions such as parachute drops and heavy-cargo transportation. The A400M is certified to carry the Airbus H225M helicopter, which Indonesia also operates, along with its neighbor Malaysia. 

The deal comes less than two months after Kazakhstan acquired a pair of A400Ms from Airbus. Indonesia will become the 10th operator after Belgium, France, Germany, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Spain, Turkey and the UK.  

While Airbus did not provide additional details on the delivery timeline, the 2024 scheduled handover of the Kazakh A400s should indicate when Indonesia’s aircraft might arrive.

Discussions to procure the A400M begin as early as 2016.There also were reports that in 2018 that the state-owned Indonesia Trade Co. would operate two A400Ms to transport goods around the archipelago, with the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) providing technical and staff support. 

In September, the TNI-AU chief of staff, Air Chief Marshal Fadjar Prasetyo, signaled his service ordered additional Lockheed Martin C-130Js when he visited the OEM’s plant and signed aboard on a C-130J-30 destined for Indonesia. Fadjar said in February the TNI-AU has ambitions to acquire as many as 15 C-130Js as part of a 10-year modernization plan.  

Chen Chuanren

Chen Chuanren is the Southeast Asia and China Editor for the Aviation Week Network’s (AWN) Air Transport World (ATW) and the Asia-Pacific Defense Correspondent for AWN, joining the team in 2017.