To increase its military defenses in the South China Sea, the government is preparing to establish an F16 fighter jet squadron in Pekanbaru, Riau Islands, and an Apache helicopter squadron near the South China Sea.
Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said the government had decided upon the measure to safeguard Asia’s largest gas field exploration at Riau Islands’ East Natuna field, formerly known as the Natuna-D Alpha block, which is set for development in the near future.
“Oil and gas production in the South China Sea is immense and we are about to develop the biggest gas field in Asia. We need to secure it as a national strategic object,” Purnomo said Saturday on the sidelines of the launch of five attack missile boats and one fast patrol boat at the Batu Ampar container port in Batam, Riau Islands.
During the event, Purnomo said investment in the country’s defense system had been extensive over the past five years, adding that the amount was three times larger than the investment during the 2005-2009 government administration and five times larger than the 2000-2004 administration.