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Indonesia plans to buy S. Korea's T-50 Golden Eagle fighters

 Indonesia's air force will purchase 16 T-50 Golden Eagle fighter jets next year from South Korea, Xinhua News reported on Sunday.

   The report, which quoted Seputar Indonesia, a local broadcaster, said the move is part of the military's effort to modernize its force.

   "There would be 16 jets, or one squadron," Chief of Indonesia's Air Force Staff Marshal Imam Sufaat told Seputar Indonesia, according to the Chinese news agency.

    The T-50 is produced by Korean Airspace Industries Ltd., a Korean aerospace company, in collaboration with U.S. company Lockheed Martin. The jet took its first flight in 2002 and recently completed 3,000 accident-free flights.

   The report added that Chief Military Adm. Agus Suhartono said in a speech to commemorate the 65th anniversary of Indonesia's Air Force on Saturday that the government will keep increasing development of its air force as an integral part of the military.

   During his visit to South Korea in March, Suhartono made a trip to Korean Airspace Industries and showed interest in the T-50 fighters. He visited the development center of the fighter jets and watched demonstrations of them maneuvering.

   South Korea's weapons procurement agency, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), said, however, that it had yet to be notified of the purchase plan.

   "We did not hear from Indonesia," a DAPA official said. "We hope that Indonesia would pick us as a preferred negotiator for the deal." (Yonhap News)