|Subject: 3 Reports: Hi-Tech Arms Steal the
Show at Jakarta Intl Defense Expo
also: JP: Prague wants to sell modern training aircraft to Indonesia; and Asia Times: The Perfect Storm - US Rides Weapons Wave
The Jakarta Post Saturday, November 25, 2006
Hi-tech armaments steal the show at international defense exhibition
Ridwan Max Sijabat, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Russia, India and South Korea have stolen the show with their hi-tech armaments at the ongoing Defense Expo, eying Indonesia as a potential buyer.
Russia, represented by at least four arms manufacturers, is showcasing an array of defense systems, ranging from conventional military equipment to the state-of-the-art Sukhoi bomber, submarines, missiles, tanks and heavy weapon transporters.
India has been displaying weapons on par with those of Russia, with its new air-to-air and sea-to-air missiles attracting the attention of expo visitors.
Also vying for attention at the show is South Korea, which has been exhibiting main battle tanks, armored recovery vehicles, armored personnel carriers, heavy equipment transporters, armored combat vehicles and corvettes, small armed escort ships.
South Korean giants Samsung, Hyundai and Rotem have contributed to the development of the country's defense system.
Russia, India and South Korea are just three of 39 countries taking part in the international defense expo, which was officially opened Wednesday and will run until Saturday.
Audrey Efinov, a designer at Russia's Rubin, which produces submarines, said the international expo was a rare arena for his country to promote its war technology.
"This is the first time we have participated in such an international event in Indonesia but the most important thing is that this is a beginning for us to introduce our products to this country. Indonesia has had several units of Russian-made submarines, fighting jets and helicopters. To us, Indonesia is a potential buyer in the future," he told The Jakarta Post.
Indonesia purchased 12 Sukhoi fighters worth US$26 million through credit export from Russia in 2004. It also made a similar deal for three submarines in the 1950s.
Indonesia turned to Russia and Eastern European countries for arms procurements after the United States imposed a military embargo on Indonesia following the bloodshed in Timor Leste in 1992. The embargo was lifted in December 2005.
Rear Adm. N.P. Gupta, design director at India's Brahmos Aerospace, said he was especially impressed by the interest expo visitors had shown in India's defense technology.
"We will provide special treatment for Indonesia and help transfer the military technology in developing its defense industry," he said.
Brahmos, an Indian-Russian joint venture, is promoting the Brahmos missile, which can be fired from bombers, submarines and land vehicles. "The missile can reach precisely its target from a distance of 290 kilometers," said Gupta.
The Indonesian director general for defense planning affairs at the Defense Ministry, Vice Air Marshall Slamet Prihatino, said Indonesia was considering purchasing Brahmos missiles, which he said were far more sophisticated than the same type produced by France, Russia and United States.
"We are also considering buying Sukhoi-30 fighters built by India and Russia because the producers have assured us of the availability of their spare parts," he said.
Slamet also said Indonesia had ordered two amphibious tanks from South Korea as part of the cooperation between the two countries, in which Korea and state-owned shipyard company PT PAL in Surabaya are building two landing ships for the Indonesian Navy.
The Jakrta Post Saturday, November 25, 2006
Prague wants to sell modern training aircraft to Indonesia
Veeramalla Anjaiah, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Czech Republic, a Central European country, wants to sell its advanced light training combat aircraft L-159 to Indonesia, the visiting Czech deputy minister of defense said in Jakarta.
"We would like to offer our top training aircraft L-159 to Indonesia. Both countries' officials will start negotiations soon in this regard," Czech Minister Jaroslav Kopriva, told The Jakarta Post in an interview Thursday in Jakarta.
The L-159 aircraft is one of the top products of Czech aeronautical company Aero Vodochody. Since 1953, the Aero has so far produced more than 10,000 different types of planes and sold them to more than 25 countries, including Indonesia.
Apparently, Kopriva has come to Indonesia at a time when Jakarta wants to diversify its sources of defense equipment.
"Yes, we came here at the right time. Indonesia can consider our products, which are of high quality, especially L-159 planes. We would like to have long-term defense cooperation with Indonesia," said Kopriva, who arrived in Jakarta on Monday.
In the past, Indonesia relied heavily on weaponry as well as military assistance from the U.S. But Jakarta had to swallow a bitter pill when Washington imposed a military embargo in 1991 over concerns about alleged human rights abuses committed by Indonesian troops in East Timor (now Timor Leste). The embargo was waived last year.
That's why Indonesia wants to diversify its sources of weaponry.
Indonesia responded positively to the Czech offer by saying it may buy several training jet fighters.
"The training planes will reduce the burden of jet planes currently used for training our pilots," Lt. Gen. Sjafrie Sjamsuddin, secretary-general of Indonesia's Defense Ministry told AFP recently.
Sjafrie and Kopriva signed an agreement Tuesday to foster defense cooperation between the two countries. The agreement focuses mainly on exchange of students officers, defense and intelligence information and transfer of technology and data.
Besides signing the agreement, Kopriva has brought a big defense delegation to participate in the Indo Defense 2006 Expo.
"Seven Czech companies, including Aero Vodochody, have been participating in the Defense Expo. We have received a good response from the visitors. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visited our stand. I am personally very happy about Indonesians' response toward Czech products," Kopriva said.
It's a sign of improvement, Kopriva said, if we compare this to the last defense expo here in 2004. At that time only two Czech companies took part in the event.
The expo, which was opened Wednesday by Yudhoyono, will end Saturday.
When asked about the price of L-159 training aircraft, Aero Vodochody president Ing. Petr Klimes, who accompanied the minister at the time of the interview, said it was difficult to name the price now.
"It's not just the plane but it includes spare parts, technology, training systems and manuals and so many things. It's a package. So it is too early to talk about the price and number of planes," Klimes said.
Czech Ambassador to Indonesia Jaroslav Vesely said Czech companies were currently offering a variety of products, ranging from pistols to planes.
"Our companies want to sell military vehicles, pistols, water treatment machines and sophisticated radar systems," Vesely told the Post, while adding that the Czech Republic was not looking for short term gains.
"We are looking forward to a permanent relationship with Indonesia," Vesely said.
Asia Times November 21, 2006
US Rides Weapons Wave
By Frida Berrigan
War, instability and high oil prices have created a perfect storm of profit for the world's weapons manufacturers. This year, military analysts predict the biggest arms bonanza since 1993, which is saying something because in the aftermath of the first Gulf War the global industry reaped the benefits of a US$42 billion arms race.
As the world's largest producer and exporter, the United States is riding the wave. For fiscal year 2006, which ended on September 31, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) churned out notices for $21 billion in arms sales offers. In most cases, that agency is required to notify Congress of all potential major arms deals worth more than $14 million.
In one typical day - September 28 - the DSCA issued notification on $5.5 billion in agreements. South Korea would get $1.5 billion in Patriot missile equipment and other hardware, Turkey was offered a $2.9 billion package including 30 F-16 fighter planes, while Jordan and Chile were also offered weapons packages.
While not all deals are finalized with arms deliveries, these notifications are a way of taking the pulse of the weapons market ... and it is racing. US arms sales offers for 2006 appear to be roughly twice the levels of any other year during the Bush administration. Noteworthy among these are the $5 billion deal for F-16s to Pakistan and a $5.8 billion agreement to completely re-equip Saudi Arabia's internal security force.
The perfect storm
In the case of Pakistan and other allies in the "war on terror", sales are booming as sanctions and embargoes imposed because of human-rights concerns or nuclear proliferation are being lifted.
For Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich nations, the price at the pump freed up cash for weapons. Finally, war in Iraq, Afghanistan and in corners of the globe where the "war on terror" is being waged more quietly, allows foreign militaries to see some of the most advanced weapons systems in action. As one US government source told The Times of London in August: "Conflicts act like a customer demonstration show and we tend to see an upsurge in sales because other countries [are] ... impressed by what is available."
This storm equals rainbows and pots of gold for the defense industry. For example, Lockheed Martin, the world's largest weapons manufacturer, stands to reap more than $11 billion in possible new offers. US weapons companies may have patriotic slogans (Lockheed Martin's is "We Never Forget Who We're Working For"), but foreign sales mean the biggest bucks because they involve systems where research and development costs were covered by the Pentagon. Also, they are often accompanied by lucrative deals for accessories, spare parts and eventual upgrades.
But, what means money in the bank for Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and other defense corporations, often means misery where the weapons are shipped. Despite having some of the world's strongest laws regulating the arms trade, almost half of US weapons end up in countries plagued with ongoing conflict and governed by undemocratic regimes with poor human-rights records.
According to the annual Conventional Arms Sales to the Developing World released by the Congressional Research Service in November, the US provided countries in the developing world with more than $11 billion in arms last year. Of these 25 countries, all had human-rights problems, according to the State Department's Human Rights Report, and 10 (including three of the top five) were "undemocratic" in the sense that citizens of those nations "did not have a meaningful right to change their government" in a peaceful manner.
This is the eighth year in a row that the US has led in global arms deliveries. The United Kingdom trailed in second with $3.1 billion and Russia was a close third, at $2.8 billion in arms deliveries. Together, these three weapons exporters where responsible for almost 70% all arms delivered worldwide last year.
In October, the United Nations began work on the Arms Trade Treaty, which is aimed at curbing arms transfers to major human-rights abusers and areas of conflict. The treaty would also urge weapons suppliers to limit weapons sales likely to undermine development in poor nations. The US was the only country to vote against the resolution, while 24 (including many other major weapons suppliers) abstained.
The UN General Assembly will take the next step, but without the active participation of the world's largest weapons producer and exporter, this important mandate will not be strong enough to counter the perfect storm of profiting from war.
FPIF columnist Frida Berrigan is a senior research associate at the New School.
------------------------------------------ Joyo Indonesia News Service