Indonesia Unveiled Prototype Of First Indigenous Strike-Capable MALE Drone

Indonesia Unveiled Prototype Of First Indigenous Strike-Capable MALE Drone
 The MALE was unveiled to the public at a hangar of PT Dirgantara Indonesia in Bandung, West Java, on Monday. (JP/Arya Dipa)

Indonesian state-owned aerospace company PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) has unveiled a prototype of an indigenously developed medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

The strike-capable UAV, which has been dubbed Elang Hitam (Black Eagle), was unveiled to the public on 30 December at PTDI’s facilities in Bandung. The platform is the product of an Indonesian consortium that includes state-owned electronics company PT Len, the Indonesian Air Force (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Udara: TNI-AU), and the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space.

The Elang Hitam is 8.65 m long, 2.6 m high, has a wingspan of 16 m, and has incorporated several design aspects of China’s CH-4 UAV.

Indonesia can now be included on the list of countries producing long-range military drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). While various companies in Indonesia have produced drones for both civilian and military purposes, this would be the first medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAV to be produced by the country.

Vehicles in this category are designed to fly at altitudes of between 3,000m and 9,000m for extended lengths of time.

The UAV’s airframe, with wings that span 16m, was revealed in the hangar of state-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) in Bandung, West Java on Monday.

The drones would be designed according to the requirements and objectives provided by the Indonesian Air Force, PTDI president director Elfien Goentoro has said.

He added that the Air Force requested the UAV to have a maximum flight time of 30 hours and a maximum cruising speed of 235 kph.

The drone, which is designed to carry 450 liters of fuel, can carry a maximum payload of 30 kg.

It is to use an engine made by the Rotax company of Austria.

Development of the vehicle was initiated in 2015 by a consortium consisting of the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT), the Defense Ministry, the Indonesian Air Force, the Bandung Institute of Technology, PTDI and PT Len Industri.

The consortium has also been supported by the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (Lapan), which is experienced in producing smaller UAVs such as the LSU-02.

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