December 26, 2009:
The Indonesian is retiring six warships and 21 Nomad reconnaissance aircraft. The six, elderly, U.S. built warships have rarely gone to sea for years, and less than a third of the Nomads are fit to fly. Indonesia recently received three new CN-235 recon aircraft. These, and a few of the remaining Nomads, will have to do for maritime patrol, at least until more CN-235s arrive. The American built ships do not have replacements on the way.
Two years ago, the commander of the Indonesian armed forces admitted what many people have known for a long time; most of their heavy military equipment is not fit for use. So he ordered a halt to any use of old or poorly maintained vehicles, ships or aircraft. Back then, at least half of Indonesian tanks, warplanes and warships were unfit to operate. Lack of spare parts, and maintenance personnel able to keep these systems going, led to most of them being incapable of operating, or dangerous to use (if you insisted on it). For the last seven years, few of over a hundred warships (most of them patrol boats) were completely combat ready. Many of those that could put to sea, did so with many items of equipment inoperable. Few warplanes were completely fit for combat, and most were dangerous to take into the air at all.
Since then, the military has been getting money to buy new equipment, and is promising to take better care of the new stuff. In the past, corrupt officers would often steal money allocated for spare parts and maintenance. As a practical matter, all the army really needed was well equipped and trained infantry, to take care of any citizens who complained. But now that democracy has taken hold in Indonesia, the generals need to cut back on the corruption and at least try and look good.