BONN — The Indonesian government is saying that it is buying more than 160 Leopard 2 main battle tanks, Marder infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) and support tanks from Germany. It expects the first shipment before the end of this year.
“All the political and administrative processes are complete, we are in the production phase,” Deputy Defense Secretary Sjafrie Sjamsuddin told dpa news agency in Jakarta on Oct. 30.
The tanks would be used vehicles and bought by an armament company, which modernizes the vehicles and resells them. Indonesia names Düsseldorf-based Rheinmetall as its contract partner. The deal is supposed be worth around 216 million euros ($280 million).
Rheinmetall already delivers the tank’s 120mm smoothbore gun, the fire control technology, the C4I systems and ammunition of the Leopard 2.
“Like we already did in the past, we will not comment publicly on possible customer relations,” a spokesman of the Düsseldorf-based company said when asked about any possible tank deals between his company and Indonesia.
“We are buying Leopard 2A4 and Leopard 2 Revolution models that are already modified and have new armaments,” Sjafrie told The Jakarta Post on Oct. 31: “We can use them as soon as they arrive.”
He said that the government was buying about 100 Leopard 2 MBTs, 50 Marder IFVs, seven supporting tanks — including bridge, recovery and ambulances — and tank transporters.
The MBT Revolution is a modular upgrade package, developed by Rheinmetall. It adapts the vehicles better to urban warfare situations and low-intensity conflicts with asymmetric threats.
What makes the story especially interesting is the fact that a representative of the German Ministry for Economics and Technology said on Oct. 29, “There is no request prior to export of Leopard tanks to remain in Indonesia.” In Germany all arms deals have to be approved by the Federal Security Council, which meets in closed session.
The story erupted on Oct. 29 after the announcement of the Indonesian Defense Ministry that it will sign an accordant memorandum of understanding with its German partner on Nov. 7 in Jakarta.
Indonesian Defense Ministry spokesman Hartind Asrin was reported by dpa Jakarta to have said, that his country would in the future produce the Leopards at the country’s weapons manufacturer PT. Pindad.
“The memorandum of understanding will stipulate the transfer of technology and the provision of spare parts,” he was quoted.
According to the ministry official, the German government would be aware of ongoing talks between German companies and Indonesia about buying Leopard tanks
“Basically, the signing of a memorandum of understanding between a company that wants to sell military equipment, and a foreign government, which wants to purchase military equipment, does not require permission from the federal government.”
As a source for future Indonesian tanks, Rheinmetall had already been mentioned on Sept. 13 in the online edition of The Jakarta Post. In the same story, it also reported the intention of the Southeast Asian country to buy 50 Marder 1A3 type infantry fighting vehicles and 10 supporting tanks from Germany.
If any such tank deal would materialize and be approved by the government, Indonesia would be the second Asian user of the Leopard 2 MBT after Singapore which has around 90 tanks. Fifteen countries worldwide operate the tank in various versions. Besides Indonesia, the two Arab kingdoms of Saudi Arabia and Qatar are reported to be interested in buying the German tank for their armies.