TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - State-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) introduced the public with its first long-range military drone that is slated for its inaugural flight in 2020 and be fully operational in 2024.
“Next year we expect to see its inaugural flight,” said PTDI president director Elfien Goentoro at the drone’s introduction at the PTDI hangar in Bandung, Monday, December 30.
The development of the medium altitude long endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was initiated by the Defense Ministry’s research and development team back in 2015. The project is a joint-consortium between PTDI, Defense Ministry, Indonesian Air Force, BPPT, ITB, and the PT LEN Industry.
The National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (Lapan) is set to join the consortium in 2020.
The 8.65-meter military drone is said to be able to conduct short distance take-offs and landings within 700-meters of runway. It will also fly at an altitude of up to 20,000 feet with a maximum speed up to 235 km/hour, and carry payloads up to 300 kilograms. The military UAV will also be able to stay in flight for up to 30-hours.
The drone is expected to match China’s CH-4 that the Indonesian air force recently purchased and will fill 2 of the military’s future UAV squadron. It is set to be fully operational in 2024 and is designed to carry the military’s 70-millimeter Folding Fin Aerial Rocket (FFAR) produced by PT Dirgantara Indonesia.
AHMAD FIKRI (CONTRIBUTOR)