By David Oliver
As maritime tensions with China escalate, at the Singapore Airshow, Indonesian Aerospace showcased the PTDI CN235-220 Special Mission aircraft which is a proven platform to perform broad spectrum of special missions including Search and Rescue (SAR), Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) control, marine pollution prevention and control, maritime surveillance and security, Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW).
It also revealed details of a new indigenous unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). In December 2019, the Indonesian Consortium of Unmanned Aircraft (PTTA MALE) launched the prototype of the PUNA Medium-Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV which is able to fly for 30 hours to fulfill surveillance, mapping and defence missions
The PUNA MALE was designed to help maintain the sovereignty of the Republic of Indonesia from the air without risking the life of a pilot. The need for efficient air surveillance continues to grow with the increasing threat of border areas, terrorism, smuggling, piracy, and theft of natural resources such as illegal logging and fishing.
Formed in 2017, the PTTA MALE consortium consists of the Directorate General of Pothan, Defense and Security Research, BPPT, ITB, LAPAN, PT. LEN, and PTDI. The initiative was started by the Ministry of Defense Balitbang in 2015, where it was agreed that the draft needs and objectives of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to be operated by the Indonesian Armed Forces, especially the Air Force.
The manufacturing’ stage began in 2019 which begins with the design structure process done by BPPT engineers and supervised by PT Dirgantara Indonesia. The Flight Control System (FCS) is produced in Spain.
In 2020 two prototypes are being built, each for the purpose of flight testing and for testing the strength of structures at BPPT. At the same time, the process of certifying the UAV will begin and it is expected that by the end of 2021 a type certificate will have been obtained from the Indonesian Ministry of Defense Feasibility Center (IMAA).
The integration of a weapons system will be carried out and is projected that a military product type certification will be achieved in 2023.
The production version of the PUNA MALE will be known as the Black Eagle. The Reaper-class 16-metre wingspan Black Eagle has a 250 km line of sight, a service ceiling of 7,200 metres and an endurance of up to 30 hours carrying a 300 km payload.
The Black Eagle MALE is designed to fulfill the needs of the Indonesian Air Force to help monitor the territory of the Republic of Indonesia and support the development of Indonesia’s defence and security industry.
Photos by David Oliver and PPTA