Indonesia wants to buy Austria’s Typhoon fleet

Austria's Defence Ministry has started negotiations for the possible sale of its entire Eurofighter Typhoon fleet to Indonesia.

In a formal letter sent September 4 to her Indonesian counterpart, Prabowo Subianto, Austrian defence minister Klaudia Tanner said Austria was “happy to accept your interest in purchasing the 15 Austrian Eurofighters to modernise your air fleet, and will now evaluate and examine this in detail.”

The surprise proposal had first surfaced on July 10, when Indonesia sent an unsolicited proposal to Austria offering to purchase the aircraft. It has taken nearly two months for Tanner’s formal response to be made.

Austrian Typhoon [Bundeswehr/Markus Zinner]
The first Austrian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon, serial ‘7L-WA’, arriving over Zeltweg air base, Austria, after its delivery flight on July 12, 2007. Bundeswehr/Markus Zinner

Austria has been seeking a buyer for its Eurofighters since 2017. They have been expensive to maintain and are unable to meet the Austrian Air Force’s future requirements. To reduce costs, the original Indonesian order was cut from 18 to 15, with only a basic equipment fit for air policing missions. Six are second-hand former German Air Force aircraft.

To finalise the sale, a re-export agreement would have to be reached with the four Eurofighter partner nations – Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. In addition, US approval would be required, because the aircraft contains US equipment. Austria’s parliament would also have to clear the deal.

There may also be political opposition in Indonesia, where the emphasis is on buying locally-built military equipment, although the country does not currently produce aircraft that would be a suitable alternative.

Tanner acknowledged that the sale to Indonesia is likely to be a “very complex and difficult” process. She has yet to announce plans for the type’s replacement.