“The more you train, the better you perform,” wise men say. The same principle could be applied to the Indonesian Air Force in its attempt to improve its performance.
The week-long Sikatan Daya 2016 war exercise held recently by the Second Air Force Operation Command (Koopsau II) in Kalimantan revealed that Air Force operations needed improvement.
Air Force Chief of Staff Marshal Agus Supriatna has called for better joint air operations after witnessing the war exercise at the Dwi Harmono Maluka Baulin air weapon range in Kurau district, Tanah Laut, Banjar Baru, South Kalimantan.
The war exercise peaked with the Sikatan Daya 2016 exercise, which was held from May 25 until June 2.
“Today’s evaluation shows that air operations are not maximally conducted. When a Sukhoi [jet fighter] attacked a target, for example, the strike and timing was not fast enough,” Agus said.
He said the recent air operation would be evaluated and the result would be used as input for the Air Force’s Angkasa Yudha exercises in September this year.
Koopsau II commander Rear Marshal Dody Trisunu said the Sikatan Daya exercise was indeed held to test the capabilities of personnel, including their mastery of doctrine, techniques and tactics as well as their readiness for air operations as their main task.
Dody said Koopsau II had a limited number of aircraft and primary equipment for air defense, especially considering the vast territory it oversaw, including border areas.
“Yet we will continue safeguarding our sovereign territory from the air,” Dody said.
The war exercise saw the deployment of a number of jet fighters such as Sukhois, F16s and Supertucanos. During the exercise, the jet fighters fired upon targets using bombs, rockets and guns.
During the exercise, a simulation on airlifting victims by the search and rescue team using helicopters was also conducted.
Hundreds of local residents went to the exercise site, but were kept 2 kilometers from spots where the bombs and rockets were being dropped. They applauded when a 250-kilogram bomb exploded, causing a loud noise and strong tremors. Other exercises included a shooting exercise and equipment handling.
One day before, an air show was held at Tjilik Riwut Airport in Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan, presenting A-29 Supertucano and T-50i Eagle Gold jet fighters. It was also open to the public.
The exercise involved 730 personnel and 33 aircraft, including 24 jet fighters. The remaining nine comprised reconnaissance/transporting aircraft and helicopters.