Indonesian MV-22 purchase gets green light

The US State Department has approved the possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of eight Bell Boeing MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft and related equipment to Indonesia.

Approval of the potential deal – worth US$2bn – was announced in a media release from the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) on July 6, after it had notified the US Congress.

According to the DSCA, “this proposed sale of aircraft and support will enhance Indonesia’s humanitarian and disaster relief capabilities and support amphibious operations.”

MV-22B Osprey (USMC) [USMC/LCpl Angela Wilcox] #1
A USMC MV-22B Osprey on the ground at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Camp Pendleton, California, in October last year. The USMC is the largest operator of the type, with AirForces Intelligence data showing that 318 examples are currently in active service. USMC/LCpl Angela Wilcox

Indonesia has requested to purchase eight examples of the Block C version of the MV-22 Osprey, along with 24 Rolls-Royce AE 1107C turboshaft engines and 20 Raytheon AN/AAQ-27 forward-looking infrared radar (FLIR) systems. The deal also includes a number of countermeasure and navigational systems.

In terms of munitions, Indonesia has also requested 40 machine guns, comprised of 20 M-240-D 7.64mm and 20 GAU-21 armaments. The proposed sale also comes with spares/repairs, personnel training and engineering, logistics and technical support services.

“It is vital to US national interest to assist Indonesia in developing and maintaining a strong and effective [self-defence] capability… This sale will promote burden sharing and interoperability with US forces. Indonesia is not expected to have any difficulties absorbing these aircraft into its armed forces,” the DSCA added.

MV-22B Osprey (USMC) [US Navy/Sgt Linsay Burnett] #1
A USMC-operated MV-22B Osprey flies over Iraq's Al Anbar province during a mission in October 2007. US Navy/Sgt Linsay Burnett

As part of the proposed sale, work on Indonesia’s MV-22s will take place at Bell’s facility in Amarillo, Texas, and Boeing’s site in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania.

Indonesia’s request to procure the MV-22 will make it the third nation to officially order the tiltrotor, following the US – where it is operational with the USAF, USMC and US Navy – and Japan. Israel has also expressed its interest in acquiring the platform on multiple occasions, but no official order has been placed. In mid-June, the Bell Boeing team marked a major milestone in the V-22 production programme, having delivered its 400th example.