Air Defense: September 14, 2001

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Indonesia's stockpile of Rapier-Mk1 air-defense missiles have reached the end of their shelf life. Indonesia started asking for bids for a new stock of missiles in 1997, but the Asian economic depression and the turmoil in the Indonesian government have derailed this effort, and time has run out. The missiles are probably good for another year or two, but after that point the failure rate would make them unreliable in combat. The Rapier-1 missile is no longer in production (although Indonesia could in theory buy some from the stockpiles of other Rapier users) but new Rapier-2 missiles could be fired from Indonesia's 51 Rapier-Mk1 launchers (if the launchers are refitted with kits available from Matra BAe). Indonesia has three batteries of Rapiers (plus a training section). Two batteries are deployed to protect major natural gas processing plants (in Aceh and Badak) and the third is based at Jatake to protect Jakarta. In a related development, Singapore has announced that it will donate 19 Aermacchi SF-260 primary trainer aircraft to Indonesia to be used as utility aircraft at small bases around the country. This will leave Singapore without primary trainers, but it plans to send pilots to Australia for training. The Singapore Air Force has a jet trainer squadron (with Aermacchi S-211s) based at RAAF Pearce in Western Australia.Stephen V Cole

 


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