Nation Becomes Tenth Operator of the Type
The Indonesian defence ministry has placed an order for two Airbus A400M aircraft, and signed a letter of intent to acquire up to four more of the type.
The sale appears to result, in part, from the dramatic demonstration of capability the A400M gave during the response to the 2018 earthquake and tsunami. The aircraft was the first large airlifter able to access the damaged, short runway in Palu, idelivering fuel trucks and excavators as well as food, clothes and medical supplies during the relief effort.
The A400M will provide the Indonesian Air Force with “the perfect platform to deliver large and heavy loads into remote areas,” said Airbus Defence and Space CEO Michael Schoelhorn, at the Dubai Airshow, where the deal was made public.
The two aircraft to be supplied once the contract takes effect next year will be in a multirole tanker and transport (MRTT) configuration. The A400M’s tanking capability is delivered via underwing pods, and its performance at both high and low altitudes, and at high speeds, makes it well suited, Airbus says, for the refuelling mission, while still having the flexibility to be operated in the transport role.
“The A400M is a truly multirole platform and will greatly enhance the Indonesian Air Force’s tactical air-to-air capabilities,” said Prabowo Subianto, Indonesia’s Defence Minister. “This aircraft will play a key role in other key missions including paratrooping and heavy cargo transportation. We are also looking at additional A400M acquisition in the near term, with future A400M developments such as firefighting an important capability we are exploring jointly with Airbus. The A400M will become a national asset and the cornerstone for human-assistance and disaster-response missions, beyond its tactical and air-to-air capabilities.”