Keeping Up With The Joneses Part 2

A CGI of an A400M airlifter in Indonesian Air Force colours. Airbus

SHAH ALAM: Indonesia has become the third nation in Asia to operate the the Airbus A400M airlifter – after Malaysia – after it signed a contract for two aircraft today. Indonesia also signed the LOI for another four A400Ms. The order and LOI was announced today on the last day of Dubai 2021 airshow. This was the second order for the A400Ms after Kazakhstan ordered a pair as well.

A CGI of the A400M in Indonesian Air Force colours. Airbus

Airbus release:

Dubai, 18 November 2021 – The Indonesia Ministry of Defence has placed an order for two Airbus A400M aircraft in multirole tanker and transport configuration.

The contract, which will become effective in 2022, will bring the total number of A400M operators to ten nations. The agreement includes a complete maintenance and training support package. A Letter of Intent was also signed for the future acquisition of four additional A400M aircraft.

”This new order will further expand the A400M footprint in the Asia-Pacific region. The A400M offers outstanding capabilities to Indonesia, providing its air force with the perfect platform to deliver large and heavy loads into remote areas and multiplying its airpower projection thanks to reliable aerial refuelling capabilities,” said Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space.

Capable of operating from rough and short runways, the A400M will strengthen the Indonesian Air Force’s airlift capabilities to rapidly respond to any crisis, demonstrated in the aftermath of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck the country in 2018. The A400M was the first large airlifter able to deliver heavy loads like fuel trucks and excavators as well as food, clothes and medical supplies using a damaged and short runway in Palu (Central Sulawesi, Indonesia).

“The A400M is a truly multi-role platform and will greatly enhance the Indonesian Air Force’s tactical air-to-air capabilities. 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,” said Prabowo Subianto, Minister of Defence of the Republic of Indonesia.

The A400M can carry heavy and outsize loads across strategic distances, deliver these into tactical locations, while offering the added aerial refuelling capability. An ideal solution to meet air forces’ multirole tanker and transport aircraft requirements.

With the ability to fly fast and at high and extremely low altitudes, the A400M is the ideal platform for refuelling fighter and other major aircraft by means of two underwing refuelling pods. Its built-in air-to-air refuelling capability allows rapid reconfiguration as a tanker, making it easily adaptable to changing operational scenarios and missions. This adaptability is unique to the A400M, which can itself also be refuelled in flight.

A CGI of an A400M airlifter in Indonesian Air Force colours. Airbus

The order for the A400Ms has been in the making for the last several years as Airbus lobbied hard for the deal even as the Indonesian Air Force leadership announced their preference for the C-130 Hercules. On Sept 9 this year, the deal for five J-variant of the Hercules was announced following the visit of the Indonesian Air Force chief to the Lockheed Martin factory which built the four engine transporter.
A CGI of the Republic of Kazakhstan Airbus A400M. Airbus

* Keeping Up with Joneses is an ongoing series of stories on the procurement of military equipment of our neighbours.

— Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2186 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. So Indonesia will maintain it’s heavy airlifting capability with 2 separate types just like us

  2. “I’d love to see Tom Cruise hanging out of an IndonesiaAF A400M while flying over an erupting volcano” says that first CGI picture.

  3. congratulations indonesia.

    if i am indonesia, i would engage with embraer to locally build the KC-390 rather then buying C-130J and A-400M at the same time.

  4. @gonggok

    They went for A-400M likely because they need a larger lift capacity per plane than both KC-390 and C-130J. If they want to built anything locally they could just spam C-295 and C-225 any day they want at no additional costs and risks.

  5. A400M as a tanker can’t refuel F-16 and IFX (a supposed to be future fleet). If Indonesia acquire IFX, they most likely will buy another type of tanker such as A330.

  6. It is interesting how Indonesia seems to mirror our puchases in military equipment. Maybe we are beta testers for them? Our climate and personnel (height, education etc.) are similar.

  7. Our A400M performing HADR missions during that 2018 disaster certainly have swayed their decisionmakers in also seeing such benefits brought by the Grizzly.

  8. And they apparantly want the mrtt too..good for them plus that 5 super for us..two additional a400m in the future..and 6 superhercules please..or embraer millenium

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