Hawk contracts hang in balance

The fate of a British Aerospace contract to supply 16 Hawk trainer/fighter sub-sonic aircraft to Indonesia from early next year depends on how the new Indonesian regime uses its existing aircraft. The contract, worth more than £200m, could be jeopardised if Indonesia falls victim to worsening military repression or slumps into civil war, believes BAe. […]

The fate of a British Aerospace contract to supply 16 Hawk trainer/fighter sub-sonic aircraft to Indonesia from early next year depends on how the new Indonesian regime uses its existing aircraft.

The contract, worth more than £200m, could be jeopardised if Indonesia falls victim to worsening military repression or slumps into civil war, believes BAe.

The aerospace company would take British Government advice on whether to proceed with the Hawk contract, a company spokesman said.

‘It is very difficult to judge how the situation in Indonesia will develop,’ he said. ‘We have to rely on the Government to allow us to sell, and so it is out of our hands.’

BAe last week closed its Jakarta marketing and administration office and moved a number of office staff out of the country.

But another BAe ‘troubleshooter’ team providing service support for the 44 single-engined Hawks sold to the Indonesian armed forces since the early 1980s remains in Indonesia.

BAe’s spokesman said the first of the next batch of 16 Hawks for Indonesia was not scheduled for delivery until ‘early in the new year’.

The aircraft frames are being produced at Brough in East Yorkshire and would be fitted with Rolls-Royce engines at Wharton in Lancashire later this year.

Some of the contract price had already been paid by the Indonesian air force. ‘As with all defence contracts, the Hawks are covered by export licences with conditions set by the British Government,’ the spokesman said. ‘If they were to be used for internal repression, it is likely the Government would have a view. We’ll be guided by them.’

Government spokesmen said it was too early to know the political outcome in Indonesia, but Indonesian defence contracts would be reviewed if necessary.