news focus - indonesia should rely on domestic defense industry to modernize weaponry by - (d)

news focus - indonesia should rely on domestic defense industry to modernize weaponry  by  - (d)

Indonesian Air Force personnels stood beside the C-130 Hercules victim coffins ahead to military ceremony in Suwondo AFB, yesterday. A C-130 Hercules registered number A-1310 crashed in Medan with 100 civilians and 12 its crew members. (ANTARA FOTO/Septianda Perdana)

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has renewed his commitment to changing the procurement system of the military's arsenals, following a plane crash that claimed 134 lives in North Sumatra, on June 30.

Indonesia must rely on its domestic defense industry in carrying out its weaponry modernization program.

"The system to procure Alutsista must be changed. This is the momentum. We should not just buy any weapon but should work towards modernizing the weaponry systems," Jokowi noted on July 1, 2015.

The head of state emphasized that Indonesia should strive to become self-reliant in procuring Alutsista by relying on its domestic defense industry.

"The most important thing is that the Alutsista procurement should encourage self-reliance in our own defense industry, so that we can take full control of military arsenals preparedness," he emphasized.

He instructed that the domestic defense industry should be involved right from design construction, production, operation, and maintenance to the destruction of obsolete weapons.

"I also want the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) to strengthen its zero-accident system in using Alutsista," he ordered.

The authorities must ensure that every jet fighter, transport aircraft, warship, submarine, and helicopter, as well as military personnel that use them are fit and well prepared, he affirmed.

The president referred to the C-130 Hercules aircraft of the Indonesian Air Force that crashed in Medan, North Sumatra, on June 30, 2015.

The 50-year-old aircraft crashed into a bustling Jamin Ginting Street that connects Medan and Brastagi tourist resort.

The Hercules C-130 aircraft hit two houses and a hotel before bursting into flames, creating a huge fireball.

The transport aircraft, bearing the registration number A-1310, crashed shortly after takeoff from Polonia Airbase during its flight from Medan to Natuna Island.

The ill-fated aircraft was carrying supplies from Halim Perdanakusuma AFB in Jakarta to several others, such as Pekanbaru, Medan, Tanjung Pinang, Ranai (Natuna Island), and Pontianak.

"Let us pray that we will be protected from any future disasters," Jokowi said after expressing his condolences.

In addition, the president asked the related parties to conduct a detailed audit of the Alutsista.

"Following several air crash incidents, we should conduct a thorough audit and modernize the (old) aircraft," Jokowi pointed out.

Chief of Staff of the Indonesian Air Force, Air Marshal Agus Supriatna, stated that the Hercules aircraft, which was manufactured in the United States in 1964, was carrying 101 passengers and 12 crew members.

"Based on the manifest, all the passengers were family members of the military personnel," Supriatna remarked.

The joint Search and Rescue (SAR) team has so far retrieved a total of 134 bodies. Supriatna denied the allegation that the accident occurred due to overloading.

The plane had a capacity to carry people and goods up to a total weight of 135 tons, he added.

It was allowed to takeoff from Suwondo AFB in Medan after all cargo had met its capacity requirements, Supriatna affirmed.

"The flight would have certainly not been allowed to takeoff had it been overloaded," he pointed out.

Indonesia currently has 12 Hercules aircraft manufactured in 1964 and 12 other aircraft manufactured in 1975 or later.

Following the accident, lawmaker Supiadin has urged the government to stop accepting grants for TNIs Alutsista.

"The Hercules plane crash in Medan is a clear warning for the government to stop receiving grants for the military's arsenals," he emphasized here on Wednesday.

Some of TNI's aging Hercules aircraft are from Australia, he added.

In April 2015, an F-16 fighter jet, which was part of a grant received from the United States, had caught fire at the Halim Perdanakusumah Airbase after it failed to takeoff.

"At that time, Indonesia had agreed to receive 24 aircraft from the United States. However, when five of them arrived, only two were categorized as serviceable and fit for operations," Supiadin pointed out.

Supiadin, a member of Commission I of the House of Representatives, also urged the government to modernize the Alutsista.

"Indonesia should learn from its past experiences. It should use the funds allocated in the state budget to modernize Alutsista and not accept grants from other countries," he stated.

Sharing the same viewpoint, Gatot Nurmantyo, the candidate for the TNI chiefs post, expressed commitment to procure new aircraft instead of grants of secondhand aircraft in future.

"I have communicated with the House of Representatives Commission I that the aircraft must be new. The next supply must have new aircraft apart from the aircraft that have already been ordered," Nurmantyo stated after undergoing the fit and proper test at the House of Representatives' building on July 2, 2015.

He stated that all aging main equipment of the military arsenals should be replaced with the new, so that the Army personnel can ably and safely perform their duties.