Indonesia cancels its plans to buy Mirage fighter jets from Qatar

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia has abandoned a controversial plan to buy Mirage 2000-5 fighter jets worth 733 million euros ($790 million) previously used by Qatar, a Defense Ministry spokesman said late on Saturday.

“There is no purchase of Mirage aircraft. Although it was planned, it was cancelled…which means there is no valid contract,” company spokesman Dahnel Anzar Simanjuntak said in a statement.

Last month, the ministry said that the deal to purchase the 12 fighter jets had been postponed due to financial constraints, and that the army would order modernization of its existing Sukhoi and F-16 aircraft instead.

The planned purchase sparked controversy when it was announced last year, with lawmakers saying the used planes were old.

defense minister Prabowo SubiantoThe candidate most likely to win Indonesia’s presidential elections scheduled for February 14 was criticized over the agreement by rival candidates during the election campaign.

But he defended the purchase during a presidential debate, saying the used planes were still good for another 15 years and were needed while the country waited for its new planes to arrive.

Prabowo oversaw the army’s efforts to modernize its aging fleet, which includes purchasing Rafale fighter jets and drones from the Turkish airline, and fighter jets and transport helicopters from the American companies Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

($1 = 0.9275 euros)

(Reporting by Ananda Theresia; Writing by Gayatri Suroyo)

(Tags for translation)Combat aircraft

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