"In the Spotlight"

Indonesia Receives First Batch of New German-made Main Battle Tanks

In the spotlight, 24 May 2016

by Alex Flor

Since more than four years Watch Indonesia! and other organizations have protested against the export of German tanks to Indonesia, s. www.watchindonesia.org/14027/deutsche-panzerlieferungen-nach-indonesien?lang=de

In 2012 we raised the question why Main Battle Tanks (MBT) like the German Leopard must by modified for urban warfare, if these arms systems are only supposed to be used for „legitimate defence”? Defence against whom? Not at the border, but in urban areas?

The German government would never officially share the view by some Indonesian military circles, that the enemy to be fought is not (only) coming from abroad, but may be found inside Indonesia itself. Germany would never accept any usage of its weapons in an internal conflict, least against oppositional groups. It’s only for defence. So they say.

Have a look at the map. Is there any big city in Indonesia being threatened by an invasion of foreign troops? There is none. Indonesia only shares land borders with Malaysia, PNG, and Timor Leste (East Timor). None of these countries will be able to attack Indonesia. And there’s no major Indonesian city close to these borders. Why then Germany agrees to export MBTs which are „upgraded for urban warfare”?

Of course, the Indonesian Army’s main reason to obtain these tanks is a matter of pride. Probably these tanks will never be seen on a battlefield. But if they do, the battlefield will be an internal conflict confronting the Indonesian Army with Indonesian oppositional groups in some big cities. That’s what these tanks were made for.

We still remember the student victims of Trisakti and Semanggi in 1998 and 1999. They were shot in cold blood.

Germany is still one of the biggest arms exporters worldwide. And Indonesia is one of its biggest customers.



The Diplomat, 24 May 2016


Indonesia Receives First Batch of New German-made Main Battle Tanks


Indonesia took delivery of eight of 61 Leopard 2 main battle tanks upgraded for urban warfare.

By Franz-Stefan Gady

thediplomat_logoThe Indonesian Army (Tentara Nasional Indonesia Angkatan Darat, TNI-AD) has taken delivery of the first eight of 61 Leopard 2A4 third-generation main battle tanks (MBT), according to executives of German defense contractor Rheinmetall, who recently spoke to IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly during a company symposium on land forces.

Rheinmetall is currently in the process of upgrading 61 Leopard 2 MBTs to the so-called Revolution standard, an urban warfare upgrade package that requires a number of specific modifications requested by the Indonesian military to make the tank more suitable for urban combat.

Overall, the TNI-AD had ordered 103 used Leopard 2A4, designated Leopard 2 RI (Republic of Indonesia) specifically outfitted with bustle-mounted air conditioning systems to suit Indonesia’s tropical climate.

The recent delivery is part of larger Indonesia-German defense deal that, next to the 103 Leopard MBTs, includes 42 upgraded Marder 1A3 infantry fighting vehicles and ten armored recovery, mobile bridges and military engineering vehicles from surplus German Army stocks. The Marder infantry fighting vehicles and the ten armored recovery and engineering vehicles, along with 42 Leopard 2 RI MBTs have already been handed over to the TNI-AD.

In a November 2013 company statement, Rheinmetall states that as the important supplier it would supply „logistical support, and ammunition worth roughly EUR 216 million [USD 290 million],” based on a contract signed in December 2012, which „now comes into full force following the successful completion of all legal formalities.”

The Leopard 2 MBT is manufactured by Germany’s Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, but the tank’s fire control technology and C4I systems, along with its 20 millimeter smoothbore gun plus ammunition is supplied by Rheinmetall.

According to IHS Jane’s Defense, „the deal will see the German company transfer undisclosed technologies to Indonesian state-owned land systems specialist PT Pindad (Persero) and the TNI-AD’s Ordnance Depot and Signal Corps.”

In May 2014, Rheinmetall also received a contract to supply the Indonesian military to supply both a driving and gunnery simulator, Leopard Gunnery Skills Trainer (LGST) and Driver Training Simulator (DTS), in order to train TNI-AD tank crews for the new MBTs.

The German-Indonesia arms deal created domestic controversy in Germany, where tight arms exports restrictions still apply, given Indonesia’s poor human rights track record. Concerns over the human rights situation in Indonesia led the Dutch government to veto a possible sale of surplus Royal Netherlands Army Leopard MBTs to Indonesia in 2012. Nevertheless, the German Security Council approved the deal in April 2013.

In the past, Germany – one of the top arms exporting countries in the world – has informally applied the so-called Genscher doctrine, named after former German Foreign Minister Hans Dietrich Genscher, who argued „that which floats is okay. That which rolls is not,” when it came to selling military hardware abroad.

Genscher’s rationale was simple: It is much more difficult to suppress a population with ships than with tanks. As a consequence, previous defense deals involving the export of submarines or other naval vessels have proven less controversial than land platforms.

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