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Indonesia expects 3 new Russian Flanker fighters by October

JAKARTA, April 10 (RIA Novosti) - Indonesia is expecting the delivery of three Su-family fighters from Russia by October this year, the Air Force chief said.

In 2007, Russian aircraft manufacturer Sukhoi signed a $350-million contract with Indonesia at the MAKS-2007 air show near Moscow for the delivery of six multi-role Su-27s and Su-30s fighters.

"The three Sukhoi fighters from Russia are expected to arrive in Indonesia before the National Defense Forces (TNI) anniversary on October 5," the Antara news agency quoted Air Force Chief of Staff Marshal Subandrio as saying.

He said the three aircraft would become part of a fighter squadron based in Makassar, South Sulawesi. The squadron currently deploys two Su-27SK and two Su-30MK fighters.

"The new fighter aircraft from Russia will heighten the state of the Air Force`s operational readiness," Subandrio said.

Russia signed an agreement with Indonesia in September last year to provide a $1 billion credit line to the Southeast Asian country for Russian weapons purchases.

Indonesian Defense Minister Juwono Sudarsono earlier said his country planned to buy six Russian fighters, two Kilo-class submarines, and nine helicopters with the credit.

Jakarta became a major arms customer of Russia eight years ago when the United States slapped an embargo on arms sales to the country over alleged human rights violations.

Washington has since lifted the ban, but Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, continues to turn to Russia for its military hardware imports.

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