Poll: Airbus C-295 AEW Becomes the Most Popular Choice of AEW&C

Poll: Airbus C-295 AEW Becomes the Most Popular Choice of AEW&C

After a long period of dim news, the plan to procure an early warning reconnaissance aircraft - Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) for the Indonesian Air Force has resurfaced, especially after the Ministry of Finance (Kemenkeu) gave approval to seek foreign loans in the realization of AEW&C procurement with a ceiling of US $ 800 million for two AEW&C units.

And Dailypost27.com on February 1 - March 1 2023, held a poll for the second time (Polling XXII) with the theme of AEW&C procurement for the needs of the Indonesian Air Force. 

Compared to the contestants in the first poll which was held August 3 – September 3 2016, the choices in the latest AEW&C poll focused on three AEW&C candidates who were seen as having opportunities, especially from the aspect of price and technology to be adopted by Indonesia.

The three candidates in the XXII poll are the Airbus C-295 AEW, Saab 2000 Erieye and Boeing 737 E-7 Wedgetail. If in the poll in 2016, the winner of the poll was the Global 6000 Saab Globaleye, then in the latest poll, the Airbus C-295 AEW, which was previously in second place, in the second poll about AEW&C this time, is the AEW&C that is most voted on by netizens respondent.

Of the 5,272 respondents, the Airbus C-295 AEW was chosen by 2,523 respondents (48 percent) and the Boeing 737 E-7 Wedgetail was selected by 1991 respondents (38 percent), while the Saab 2000 Erieye was selected by 758 respondents (14 percent).

From these results, the C-295 AEW from Airbus Defense and Space was lined up as the most popular AEW&C aircraft in this poll. However, the question is, is the Airbus C-295 AEW really the ideal AEW&C for the Indonesian Air Force?

Most likely the respondents chose the C-295 AEW because of the collaboration between PT Dirgantara Indonesia (DI) and the Airbus Group. In addition, PT DI has also been trusted by Airbus to assemble the C-295. Currently, the C-295 transport variant has been operated by the Indonesian Air Force and Police. That is, apart from the type and capability of the radar, the C-295 aircraft platform is a consideration.

Airbus Defense and Space officially released the C-295 AEW at the Paris AirShow 2011. Carrying the fourth generation AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar, the C-295 AEW&C adopts a rotodome type that rotates 360 degrees.

However, among the advantages of the C-295 AEW platform, there are several points that could become a stumbling block in the adoption of the C-295 AEW in Indonesia. This point is the fact that until now the C-295 AEW is still a prototype. In other languages, the C-295 AEW has not been operationally acquired by any country.

In 2016, it was reported that the Vietnam Air Force would become the initial buyer (launch customer) of the C-295 AEW with an order for two units, but so far there has been no further news. The Vietnam Air Force now operates three units of the C-295M transport variant.

Seeing that there are no C-295 AEW operational users, it will be difficult for this type of turboprop aircraft to be acquired by the TNI, because it has not been proven at the operational level. Things are different when compared to the Boeing 737 E-7 Wedgetail and Saab 2000 Erieye.

The second challenge for the C-295 AEW is politics. This is because the AESA radar installed on the C-295 AEW rotodome is made by an Israeli company, Elta System. 

This means that this could become a hot ball for the acquisition of high-value defense equipment, and will make it difficult to issue cooperation agreements and transfer of technology, because there are no diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Israel.

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