Bogor (ANTARA) - Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto affirmed on Friday that his ministry is prioritizing the procurement of several air defense equipment, especially after an increase in budget allocation sourced from foreign loans.

"We need more transport aircraft and air refueling aircraft. We do not have them while our neighboring countries already have them," he stated at the handover ceremony of eight Airbus H225M helicopters to the Air Force at the Atang Sendjaja Air Base in Bogor, West Java.

Earlier, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani agreed to increase the budget allocation for the main equipment for foreign weapons systems in 2024, up from US$20.75 billion to US$25 billion as agreed by President Joko Widodo.

Subianto remarked that an adequate defense budget for defense equipment is important to ensure military readiness in protecting the country's sovereignty and territorial borders from foreign threats.

He said that no one can ensure a country's stability because one day, conflict could break out and force the nation to deploy its best resources to protect its territory and people.

"In matters of defense, the most important aspect is readiness. This also applies to disaster mitigation. We cannot move to look for equipment once the war occurs," he remarked.

In addition, he stated that maintaining sovereignty and bolstering Indonesia's defense posture could not just be based on hope.

"It cannot be based on our hope. We have not had a war with other countries for 40 years," he stressed.

He also noted that defense was a vital issue for the country's integrity, considering Indonesia's vast territory, especially when compared to the size of Europe.

Subianto underscored the similarity in territory between Indonesia and Europe.

"However, they have at least 28 countries, and we are only one country. Some say defense is expensive and so does independence. Having an armed force is necessary to safeguard our sovereignty. It requires the best resources that we have," he emphasized.

On Friday, he handed over eight Airbus H225M helicopters, originally named Eurocopter EC725 Caracal, to the Indonesian Air Force.

The eight Airbus helicopters were all assembled by the state-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia and are now officially strengthening Air Squadron 8 Wing 4 of the Atang Sendjaja Air Base.

Subianto also inaugurated the Airbus H225M helicopters' full flight simulator at Atang Sendjaja Air Base.

Related news: Minister hands over eight Airbus H225M helicopters to Air Force
Related news: Falcon 8X jet aircraft officially joins the Indonesian Air Force

Translator: Genta Tenri M, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Anton Santoso
Copyright © ANTARA 2023