Ternate, N. Maluku (ANTARA News) - The Leo Wattimena Air Force base on the island of Morotai, North Maluku, would be strengthened as an integrated military base for the defense of eastern Indonesia.

"In line with the program of the Center, development of Morotai as an integrated military base is to be completed in 2020," Commander of the Leo Wattimena air force base on the island of Morotai Navigator Col. Arif Budiyanto said here on Saturday.

Especially for the Air Force, the facilities to be built to back up development of the island of Morotai as an integrated military base include piers, Col. Arif Budiyanto said.

The Navy personnel would be prepared to support the concept of integrated military base with submarine installations such as the ones in the Natuna islands, he said.

He also said as the first step to make Morotai as an integrated military base, the military has prepared development of radar unit to be placed at Tanjung Sofi in the sub-district of Morotai Utara.

The Air Force base commander would also build parking place for fighter aircraft in that area.

"Morotai is located at the Pacific rim sharing border with neighboring country the Philippines. It historical backgrounds related to the World War II in September, 1944 is the main reasons for the government for building military base on the Morotai instead of in Ternate," Col. Arif Budiyanto said.

In addition to radar units and guided missile units, the military will deploy air defense detachment around the Leo Wattimena Air Force base. A navy base would be built and an army battalion would be placed in that area, he said.

Col. Arif Budiyanto said the Leo Wattimena Air Force base is still short of personnel by around 100 - 130 officers as any time, the Squadron V, which is based in Makassar lands at the Leo Wattimena Air Force base in Morotai.

In addition to the army radars, the government would also place units of guided missiles in the air force base to protect the radars.

Reporting by Abdul Fatah
Editing by Albert Saragih

Reporter: Antara
Editor: Otniel Tamindael
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