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Jakarta, Sept 18 (ANTARA) - Air Force Chief of Staff Marshal Subandrio said Thursday the Air Force (TNI AU) will make a proposal to the Defense Ministry for the replacement of its Hawk MK-53 warplanes in mid October 2008.
"If possible, we will propose it to the Defense Ministry after the post-fasting month festivities. The proposal is still in the process of finalization at the TNI AU Headquarters," he said.
Subandrio said the usage life of MK-53s would end in 2011 and that the TNI AU must make preparations for their replacement right now.
He said the Defense Ministry had followed up on the TNI AU's proposal for the replacement of OV-10 Bronco warplanes.
"We are still waiting for the Defense Ministry's decision on the substitute for OV-10 Bronco. One of the substitutes for OV-10 Bronco is Brazilian-made Super Tocano," he said.
The Iswayudi air base in Madiun, East Java, currently has three squadrons of warplanes, namely Squadron 3 (F-16 Fighting Falcon), Squadron 14 (F-5 Tiger) and Squadron 15 (Hawk MK-53).
In total, the air base has 28 warplanes consisting of 10 F-16s, 12 F-5 Tigers and six MK-53s.
Major Adam Suharto, commander of the air base's Squadron 15, said recently only two of the six MK-53s were fit to fly.
The TNI AU plans to replace a number of its warplanes and transport planes aged 20 to 30 years, including OV-10 Bronco, Hawk MK-53, F-5 Tiger and F-16 Fighting Falcon.
The TNI AU has proposed four types of warplanes, namely Czech-made L-159B, Russian-made Yak 130, Italian-made Aermacchi M346 and Chinese-made Chengdu FTC-2000/JL-9, to replace its Hawk MK-53s.