First of all, what's the need for specialized COIN (Counter Insurgences) for TNI AU anymore...It's urgent..??
The Air Force said it's urgent because the OV 10 already grounded, and they need replacements for COIN duty soon..Again the questions is; It's still neceesary for the Air Force to maintain COIN capabilities.??
COIN (in the form of OV 10) was build by TNI AU basically to handle the problem in East Timor, and latter on double duty with problem in Aceh..
Indonesia do not have to worry anymore with problem in East Timor..and Aceh already got political solutions. Problem lays still in Papua..but this problem is very low intensity compared what the East Timor Guerilla and Aceh separatist capable of..certaintly is not worth to have COIN fighters there.
Why focus on COIN? The Tucano can do more than that. COIN operations are winding down, that's a fact. The Tucano is marketed as a COIN aircraft, but it can do far more.However, the Tucano can do more than COIN ops, as you've noted, border patrols and patrols against illegal logging are still applicable, and will only grow in use, as demands for COIN operations trail off. Evidently you know that, as you have stated as much.
However your oppinion on potential usage of Tucano's was right..at least from TNI AU stand of point..they need it to patrol land borders.
That's why they planned to stationed them in Tarakan near Sabah's border...the arguments's that the land border in borneo's difficult to patrol by land thus the smugling of raw timber and coal's rampant.
I think they want also to stationed a tucano's flight in Papua's border..
Are you simply drawing too much from the fact that the Tucano is marketed as a light attack/COIN aircraft?
Second, the Army already and will keep continue build their own Gunship capabilities in the form of MI 35. This alone basically abble to conduct COIN duties, which again will raised the questions why the Air Force still need specialised COIN... Are the Air Force not willing to let the Army taking over COIN duties..??
The only arguments that the Air Force can sold now to have Super Tucano, was it's needed for border control in Borneo just as the Brazillian do in the Amazon. However there're other ways to improved border control that's does not requires building specialised COIN sq...Improving the Army Gunship inventories certaintly was one.
For one, fixed wing CAS and rotary wing CAS are quite different things. Both sides have their pros and cons. I'm actually curious as to why you're simply focusing on COIN. Could the Tucano not be used for patrol purposes as well? And you've mentioned the patrolling duties yourself, so why emphasize on the fact that it is a COIN aircraft? It is more than that. Much as how the Brazilians are using theirs.
Third, even the operational cost of supersonic fighters like F 16 certaintly will be more expensive then a turboprop COIN fighters like Super Tucano, however maintaining squadrons with different types of Aircraft also not cheap. On Fighters TNI AU now have to maintain SU27/30, F 16, F 5, Hawk 100/200, and now will have to maintain Super Tucano. The numbers of each aircraft types also very limited..thus also increased the operational logistical costs.
In sense TNI AU should reduce the aircraft types it's operated...not acquairing another type which will need another set of logistical support lines..And even if they still demanding COIN..for the sake of the costs they should go with Modified KT-1..since they already use that as basic trainers anyway.
If the TNI-AU was previously maintaining OV-10s, and now intends to replace OV-10s with Super Tucanos, how does that increase the number of types of aircraft to be maintained? It doesn't. And while the KT-1 is an interesting option, the Super Tucano is capable of a substantially larger load. The Tucano has a far larger payload and an extended range compared to the KT-1. The KT-1 would have to be modified with at least an upgraded engine to provide similar performance to the Tucano, but that's not a bad idea, especially if they were willing to take the performance hit.
In short, for long term..maintaining 2 sq of F 16 will be not more expensive than maintaining 1 sq of F 16 and 1 sq of Super Tucano.
Are you serious? There's little accurate information for quantifying the two, and while you would not require cross training for the support staff, you're probably going to need more specialized and trained staff to deal with the F16s as well, and while you may have some of that existing staff, and will have to train more as you go, you will still have to increase the number of staff to deal with the increased number of aircraft. The cost of spares is also drastically higher compared to the simpler parts in the Tucano. Avionics, electrical and engine components are likely to be substantially cheaper for the Tucano. They are also very different aircraft designed for different purposes.
Fourth, based on the amount that Jordan, Chille and what the US Air Force has offered for second hand modified (MLU) F 16, it's around USD 20 mio and USD 25 mio. Thus the Air Force can have another 10-12 F 16 (MLU) with the money they will spend on Super Tucano. It's enough for another sq of F 16.
Super Tucano will be limited to operated on Borneo land border or litoral water near Borneo's border. It's not enough and not build to operated conducting CAP throughout this Archipelago air spaces. F 16 also provided the Airforce the flexibility to be stationed on temporary basis in the supporting air bases throughout Indonesia. You can also move Super Tucano's around, however they will not provide the smae flexibility as F 16 did.
Last, looking all the above, getting another COIN sq by the air force is not more than another inter agency budget competions. The Air Force do not provide enough strong reasons to maintain COIN sq, however they also do not want that budget to be given to the Army to support additional gunships capabilities.
Kinda curious as to where you got the figures for the MLU units, as the data I found was somewhat scattered. The Jordan and Chile units were also released from Dutch/Belgian aircraft, and the European states have been offering their surplus stuff for sale at fire-sale prices as they cut down on military expenditure and forces. If TNI-AU can afford to get in on that deal, more power to them.
As I mentioned earlier, the F16s may offer an increased combat capability, but is that combat capability of any use? Would it be sufficient to deter hostilities, and if not, would the additional combat capability be sufficient to defeat potential attackers? Having the aircraft, but not the weapons and systems capability to locate and destroy the attackers is of little more utility. The air forces in the region, i.e. RAAF, RMAF or RSAF could at the very least maintain parity the TNI-AU, even with the additional F-16 squadron. Am I saying that an extra F-16 purchase is ill-conceived? Hardly. I'm saying, there's a need to prioritize, and the TNI-AU has chosen to do so in a direction you do not agree upon.
Regarding the claim of the F-16's superior flexibility over the Tucano,, what exactly were you referring to? Tthe Tucano is capable of using airfields that require far less preparation and maintenance compared to the F-16. If you are referring to weapons capability and speed of deployment, the Tucano certainly has lower speed, but could be based much closer to the action and possibly provide a longer loiter time at substantially lower costs. And the Tucano is designed for the CAS, COIN and ground patrol roles; roles that the F-16, especially with the more limited weapon loadout the TNI-AU units have, may not be substantially better at, if at all. If you are looking for air space denial or defense, the Tucano is obviously not in the same league, but the TNI-AU isn't looking for an interceptor in the Tucano.
You don't like the Tucano purchase, by all means, feel free to do so, but it certainly has its uses.