22 August 2019
Eurofighter hopes to sell its Typhoon fighter jet to Indonesia. Photo: Eurofighter
Eurofighter hopes to sell its Typhoon fighter jet to Indonesia. Photo: Eurofighter

Eurofighter’s social media assault on Indonesia

Why was ex-Royal Air Force pilot Paul Smith posing for photos with aviation bloggers and passers-by in Indonesia in front of a backdrop of a Typhoon fighter jet flying over the country’s volcanoes?

A marketing ploy, no doubt, but one with a twist.

Most vendors of military aircraft target their pitch directly to governments.

But Eurofighter, the consortium that builds the Typhoon, is conducting a simultaneous flanking assault on the young, tech-savvy population of Indonesia, the world’s third-biggest democracy, via social media, the Financial Times reports.

Jakarta has the most Twitter users of any city in the world, and Eurofighter hopes many of them will retweet the photos of Smith, its manager of “business winning,” and the Typhoon.

“We are selling to the ministry of defence and the air force, but in this huge democracy, where there are so many young people, we thought that it was a good, complementary way of showcasing Eurofighter,” Alberto Gutierrez, chief executive of the consortium — made up of Britain’s BAE, Italy’s Finmeccanica and French-German Airbus — told the newspaper.

Cuts in military spending by the United States and other Western governments have led to cutthroat competition. Eurofighter has lost bidding battles to Swedish and French rivals in recent years.

In Asia, China’s growing military assertiveness is encouraging many of its neighbors, including Indonesia, to increase their defence spending.

Indonesia needs to replace its aging fleet of Northrop F5 Tiger fighters. Defence analysts expect it to spend about US$1 billion buying 16 aircraft. 

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