News / Asia

Indonesia Readies Mass Production of Drones

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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid