News / Asia

Indonesia Readies Mass Production of Drones

TEXT SIZE - +
Kate Lamb
— Indonesia has announced that it will begin to mass-produce surveillance drones this year. Analysts say Indonesia's local drone development and production is part of a broader trend of rapidly modernizing militaries in the Asia Pacific.
                                                                                              
Funded by the Defense Ministry, Indonesia initiated its surveillance drone development program in 2004. A collaborative effort between several government agencies, the Wulung, a type of unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV, is ready to be mass-produced for the Indonesian Air Force this year.
 
The Wulung prototype was locally designed and produced, and initially will be used for non-military purposes, such as monitoring active volcanoes, spotting illegal logging and patrolling the country’s huge maritime area.

Covering a wide region

Samudro, a director at Indonesia’s Research and Technology Application Agency that jointly developed the prototype, said the drones will help Indonesia keep tabs on its 17,000 islands and multiple borders.
 
"To monitor our borders, to monitor our illegal fishing, to monitor the human trafficking, for example, and also for search and rescue," said Samudro.
 
The aircraft will be placed in the country’s vast border regions, with Papua New Guinea and East Timor to the east, and Malaysia and Brunei to the northwest.

While all current drones are unarmed, the Indonesia Defense Ministry says it has long-term plans for a weaponized model capable of shooting missiles or dropping bombs.

Limited range

The Wulung drone provides real-time recording to ground control stations, but can only fly for up to four hours and as far as 73 kilometers from its ground controllers.
 
In comparison, some U.S. drones can fly for more than a day without refueling and can be controlled via satellite from bases thousands of kilometers away.
 
With their sophisticated technology and complex supporting infrastructure, armed drones have come to define a new, very modern, form of warfare.
 
In trying to match global arms capabilities, Yohannes Sulaiman, an analyst from the Indonesian Defense University, said Indonesia’s local drone production is counterproductive and ego driven.
 
“It pushes the development back actually years behind other countries. It is all a matter of national ego. It is like the Indonesian way, I guess, proof that we are smart enough to build our own drones,” said Sulaiman.

Drones becoming ubiquitous

Most major militaries today operate some form of unarmed drones, purchased from major suppliers such as Israel and the United States. And with growing economic clout and geopolitical tensions, drone usage in the Asia Pacific is set to proliferate.
 
Richard Bitzinger, an ex-CIA analyst and senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said drone development in Indonesia is all part of a broader regional trend.
 
“I mean this is all part of a trend of ratcheting up military capabilities throughout the Asia Pacific. It is just as militaries replace older equipment, the newer equipment is just head and shoulders superior and endowed with new capabilities that these militaries beforehand did not possess," said Bitzinger. "And so I mean, for me alone, I don’t see drones alone as some kind of ominous game changer, but what I do see is an overall trend in military modernization, which is increasing the qualitative capabilities of regional militaries.”
 
China, South Korea, Singapore, and Japan all have UAV programs underway.
 
In 2011 the Asia Pacific spent $590 million on UAVs, which global consulting firm Frost and Sullivan estimates could rise to $1.4 billion in 2017.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Antariksa from: Jakarta
May 09, 2013 11:27 PM
It is better slowly but sure, with your own capability. Because the best defence for the country if she can produced everything include defence equipment independently. Vini Vidi Vici


by: hgh from: Japan
April 30, 2013 10:15 PM
if Indonesian drones appeal to you... you might as well drink Egyptian beer... the best most sophisticated drones are Israeli drones (precision spy military drones) second best are US drones they come with an infrastructure... very expensive.


by: Kitagawa Keikoh from: Daikanyama, JPN
April 30, 2013 7:48 PM
Drones-like RC airplanes can be easily made without sophisticated technology and complicated infrastructure.
These technologies will become our new threat attacking citizens. If you have some spare money, you can make thousand of hundreds of drones flying over citizens without permission of government. Government should take an action ASAP to control personal drones as a hobby.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid