Come September, The Royal Australian Airforce will deploy their F-35A’s to Indonesia. The F-35A Lightning II stealth fighter is a coveted jet, capable of supersonic flight and equipped with various air-to-surface and air-to-air munitions, such as the AIM-120 AMRAAM, AIM-9X “Sidewinder” Short Range Air-to-Air Missile, GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) Guided Bombs, Laser-Guided Bombs as well as carrying an Internal 25 mm GAU-22/A Cannon.
In another move to strengthen the two nations’ security partnership, exercise Elang AUSINDO, which will take place in Indonesia’s North Sulawesi Province, will provide Indonesian pilots with further opportunities to train with the F-35A.
Focusing on air combat, Elang AUSINDO, is just one facet of three bilateral exercises that comprise the AUSINDO exercise series. In the past, Albatross AUSINDO and Rajawali AUSINDO focused on air mobility and maritime patrol.
The exercise series, beginning in 1995, utilises the personnel of RAAF’s No. 75 Squadron and the TNI-AU’s 3rd Squadron. According to the Australian Defence Force, “This year’s event will take place between 18-28 September from Sam Ratulangi International Airport near the city of Manado in North Sulawesi. No 75 Squadron’s Tindal-based F-35As will be joined by Indonesian F-16Cs of the 3rd Squadron, normally based at Iswahyudi Air Force Base in East Java, for the duration of the exercise. While the exercise marks the first deployment of the F-35A to Indonesia it is not the TNI-AU’s first exposure to the aircraft. During Exercise Pitch Black 2022 Indonesian F-16Cs of 3 Squadron deployed to RAAF Darwin where they flew missions alongside RAAF F-35As as well US Marine Corps (USMC) F-35Bs.”