Indonesia’s Giant Military Force In 1960

Indonesia's Giant Military Force In 1960

The 1960s, President Sukarno Era.

Indonesia's military strength is one of the main, the largest, and strongest in the world. At that time, even the Dutch forces were not comparable to Indonesia, and the United States was very concerned with the development of our military forces that was heavily supported by the latest technology of the Soviet Union.

In 1960, the Dutch were still entrenched in Papua. Seeing the power of the Republic of Indonesia became more powerful, Western-backed Dutch deceptionally designed to establish a puppet state that seemed to be independent, but still under the Dutch control.

President Sukarno immediately took extreme action, in purpose of Papua recapture. Sukarno immediately issued a decree "Trikora"; in Yogyakarta, and the contents were:
1. To prevent the formation of a puppet state of Papua, made by the Dutch colonial.
2. To raise the Sang Saka Merah Putih (The Red-and-White Indonesian flag) in the Papua (West Irian at that time).
3. To be prepared for a general mobilization, maintaining independence and unity of the nation's homeland.

Thanks to the proximity of Indonesia with the Soviets, Indonesia then got a help with massive naval forces and advanced air military in the world with a huge value of U.S. $ 2.5 billion. That time, the Indonesian military forces were considered the strongest in the southern hemisphere.

The main strength of the Trikora Indonesia forces is one of the largest warships in the world's fastest man-made Soviet Sverdlov class, with a giant cannon 12 caliber 6 inches. This is the KRI Irian, a giant weighing 16,640 tons with a crew of 1270 people, including 60 officers. The Soviets never once gave this strong ship to any other nations except Indonesia. (New ships now from Indonesia Sigma class weighs only 1600 tons).

KRI Irian 3

KRI Irian was the most dangerous one of the main ship in the world and its strength was proportional to the ships America's best fighter, the USS Iowa, USS Wisconsin and USS Missouri. The defender anti-air attack was very strong, because the kind had a triple 4-bis Mk5 gun turrets 20 mm caliber, and 32 multi-function Canon 3.7 cm caliber. Its armored belt had reached 100 mm thick, almost impossible to penetrate the warships with the Dutch's best, including Hr. Ms. Evertsen.


HNLMS Karel Doorman in Biak, Papua

Since the arrival of this ship immediately the Dutch drastically reduced its presence in Papua. The carrier of the Dutch largest pride, HNLMS Karel Doorman was ordered to leave immediately as soon as HMS Papua New Guinea moved to leave the Admiralty Yard in Leningrad to Surabaya, Indonesia.

Indonesia Air Force also became one of the main fleets of air deadliest in the world, which consisted of more than 100 aircraft-art at that time:

  • 20 fighter supersonic MiG-21 Fishbed.
  • 30 aircraft MiG-15.
  • 49 fighter high-subsonic MiG-17.
  • 10 aircraft supersonic MiG-19.

mig-21 p


The aircraft MiG-21 Fishbed is one of the main planes of the world's most advanced supersonic thathas been able to fly at the speed reaching Mach 2. This aircraft was even better than the most sophisticated American aircraft at that time, the supersonic F-104 Starfighter and F-5 Tiger. All while the Dutch were still relying on the planes from World War II such as P-51 Mustang.

For the record, the magnitude of the aircraft MiG-21 and MiG-17 was thatin the Vietnam War they encouraged Americans to establish the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor, the training center for best pilots known as TOP GUN.


Indonesia also had a fleet of 26 long-range strategic bomber Tu-16 Tupolev (Badger A and B). This made Indonesia one of only 4 nations in the world that have strategic bombers, namely the United States, Russia, and England. The home is located at the Air Force Base Iswahyudi, Surabaya.

Even China and Australia did not have strategic bombers like this. The bombers also featured a variety of sophisticated electronic equipment and special anti-missile warships Kennel AS-1, which could easily sink the ships of Western combat.

Indonesia also possessed a 12 Whiskey-class submarines, dozens of Corvette-class battleships, 9 of the world's largest helicopter MI-6, MI-41 helicopter 4, various aircraft carriers including heavy transport aircraft Antonov An-12B. In total, Indonesia possessed 104 units of combat ships. Not to mention the thousands of the best assault rifles at the time and still become legendary to this day, the AK-47.

This all made Indonesia air force become one of the sea and air military strongest in the world. It was so thrillingly great that America under the leadership of John F. Kennedy forced the Dutch to get out of Papua, and stated in the UN forum that the transition of power in Papua from the Netherlands to Indonesia was something that can be accepted.



Hanya memory untuk pengingat saja.....jangan terlalu noleh kebelakang terlalu lama, bahaya

moharifwidarto's picture

We deserve to rebuild it

I do not agree if the above article is aimed to be a memorial thing only. We deserve to rebuild our military forces and reclaim the reputation of biggest military force at southern hemisphere.

Moh Arif Widarto

It's quite an interesting

It's quite an interesting article but I must say that I doubt the accuracy of some points in this article. KRI Irian was indeed the flagship of Indonesian Navy back then, and it's true that it's undoubtly a powerful ship (might just be the most powerful warship in the region at that time), but still KRI Irian was a cruiser type warship. It's only armed with 6 inches guns. It's almost certainly not comparable to USS Iowa class battleships which were armed with 16 inches guns. KRI Irian weights roughly 16000 tonnes while Iowa class battleship weights over 50000 tonnes. And unlike what this article said that the air defence capabilities of KRI Irian was formidable, the gun-based anti-aircraft weapons employed on KRI Irian at that time had become obsolete at the advent of supersonic jet-fighters.

Indonesian airforce at that time was sure equiped with some formidable planes and weapons. We also could say that TNI-AU back in 70s was one of the largest airforce in the southern hemisphere. But still it's nowhere of being "one of the deadliest" in the world. China and taiwan were better equiped in term of quality an quantity at that time, so did US, Sovyet, etc.

I also disagree that mig-21 was superior to starfighter or F-5. Mig-21 indeed had several advantage over its American counterparts, but it also had a number of serious disadvantage such as its outstandingly low endurance and combat range and also its tendency to roll uncontrolably due to its short wingspan design.

In addition, Tu-16 was not a long-range strategic bomber. It's size and range meant that it was more correctly classified as medium bomber. China actually have Tu-16 Bear in form of Xian H-6 and they even still producing newer version of the Bear today (H-6K).

It's a good article, too bad that it's filled with inaccurate and in some parts over-exagerating the data.