New air force base being built in Tarakan
Tarakan, East Kalimantan (ANTARA News) - A type-C military airbase, being constructed by the Indonesian Air Force in the East Kalimantan city of Tarakan, is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2009.
"The airbase is expected to be operational by the end of 2009," Air Force Operations Command Chief of Staff (Koopsau II) Rear Marshal Benyamin Dandel told newsmen after a meeting with Tarakan Deputy Mayor Thamrin AD here Wednesday.
The meeting was held to put the construction of the airbase on a solid footing as a project supporting the maintenance of the security and sovereignty of the Unitary State of Indonesian Republic (NKRI) in areas bordering Malaysia.
Dandel said, after the military airbase in Tarakan was completed, the Indonesian Air Force would station jet fighters there to anticipate possible security disturbances in border areas.
He said Malaysia had placed jet fighters at its military airbase in Tawao but Indonesian military aircraft were so far stationed in Balikpapan which is quite far from the border between the two countries.
Asked what kind of jet fighters the Air Forces would station in Tarakan, Dandel said it could be Sukhoi, F-16, F-5, or Hawk.
"We have several types of fighter planes to be stationed alternately in Tarakan airbase when it is fully operational," he said.
Meanwhile, Tarakan Deputy Mayor Thamrin AD said he fully supported the construction of the airbase in the city because it had something to do with the maintenance of the country`s territorial integrity.
"For us, the integrity of NKRI is indisputable because Tarakan lies close to the border with Malaysia and therefore we fully support the construction of the airbase by providing the Indonesian Air Force with a plot of land," Thamrin said.
He said Tarakan`s municipal administration had since 2007 cleared 108 hectares out of a promised 168 hectares of land for the Air Force`s airbase. (*) END