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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened 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.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid