Indonesia’s government said it was prepared to accept a US offer for 24 surplus F-16s, reported The Jakarta Post, Wednesday. This announcement came on the heels of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s visit to the country on Sunday during his tour of Southeast Asia. According to the newspaper, an Indonesian parliament defense oversight committee approved the deal, albeit with a set of conditions. “All the planes have to be upgraded from Block 25 to Block 52; all components needed for the upgrade have to be produced here in Indonesia; and the upgrade must be procured through the foreign military sales scheme,” said Yorrys Raweyai, a committee member. Indonesia will reportedly bear the cost of the aircraft refurbishments. The Southeast Asian nation already operates some older model F-16s.
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self Defense Force recently, as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S., as the bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.