South Korea and Indonesia will jointly develop a 4.5-generation fighter, according to a memorandum of understanding signed last month. In an e-mail interview, Stephanie Neuman, an adjunct professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and a senior research scholar the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies, discusses the advantages and obstacles of an Indonesia-South Korea joint fighter project.
WPR: What is the history of this joint fighter project?
Stephanie Neuman: Beginning in 1980, development of domestic defense industries was encouraged by the Indonesian government and by the early 1990s various domestic companies were capable of producing light aircraft, helicopters, transport aircraft, landing craft, patrol boats, ammunition and firearms. By the end of the 1990s, however, the economic crash of 1997-1998 and the sanctions regime initiated by the U.S. over human rights violations had badly affected Indonesia's defense industry.