Indonesia's president will meet with his Russian counterpart in Moscow later this year to discuss the possible purchase of eight sophisticated fighter jets, a senior official said Thursday. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono will determine the prices and terms of payment for Sukhoi multi-role aircraft when he meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in June, said State Secretary Yusril Ihza Mahendra.
Currently Indonesia has four of the Russian-made planes, but Yudhoyono wants to boost the squadron to 12, he said. Indonesia started seeking alternative weapons suppliers after the United States imposed an arms embargo six years ago to protest rights abuses by the military.
Washington was formerly Indonesia's largest supplier of weapons and equipment. The U.S. lifted the ban in November, citing the Muslim nation's cooperation in fighting terrorism, but Indonesian Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono said last month he would continue looking to other sources for arms and other military equipment.
"We are still evaluating the best packages for our military equipment based on our budget," he said. The Indonesian navy is purchasing two corvettes from the Netherlands and has a deal with South Korea to buy diesel-electric submarines, reports the AP. N.U.