Aircraft is a mode of transportation that has a very important purpose in economic and defense development, especially in Indonesia that is an archipelago state with a quite difficult geographical conditions if not using a proper kind of air transportation. By the conditions those mentioned above, the idea arises that, as an archipelago state, Indonesia is in a position to have an independent maritime and aviation industry itself. This led to the birth of aircraft industry in Indonesia.




Since the Indonesian puppet mythology was developed in Indonesian culture and Gatotkaca became a legendary figure as a hero who has the ability to fly, the desire to fly of Indonesian people was highly triggered at that time.

In the Dutch Colonial era, they did not have an aircraft design program yet, but they carried out a couple of activities related to making a licenses, technical and safety evaluations for all aircraft that is operated throughout Indonesia. In 1914, Flight Test Department was established in Surabaya, in order to look deeper about flight performance in the tropical areas.

Then in 1930, there was a form in establishing the Aircraft Production Department which produced the Canadian AVRO-AL and modified fuselage was made from local wood. This manufacturing facility was transferred to Andir Airfield (now Husein Sastranegara Airport).

During this period, the interest of manufacturing aircraft was started within the private-owned workshop.

In 1937, eight years prior to the Indonesian Independence, due to the request of a local businessman and some of Indonesian youths, led by Tossin. They built an aircraft at a workshop, located in Jalan Pasirkaliki, Bandung and they named the aircraft as PK. KKH. This aircraft had once surprised the aviation world since its ability to fly towards Netherland, China and vice versa. Prior to this, around the 1922, Indonesia had even been involved in aircraft modification at a private house on Jalan Cikapundung, Bandung.

In 1938, by the request from LW. Walraven and MV. Patist – designer of PK. KKH – the light aircraft was built at workshop on Jalan Kebon Kawung, Bandung.



After the Indonesian Independence was proclaimed in 1945, the opportunity for Indonesian to reach their dream to build the aircraft by their own needs was totally wide open. At that time, they began to deeply realized that as an archipelagic country, Indonesia will always need the air transportation facilities for itself to expedite the economic development and national defense.

In 1946, Planning & Construction Bureau was established at TRI-Udara or Indonesian Air Force. Sponsored by Wiwieko Supono, Nurtanio Pringgoadisurjo and Sumarsono, a special workshop was located in Magetan, near Madiun, East Java. From a simple materials of Zogling, NWG-1 Light Aircraft was made.

Tossin was also involved in this aircraft manufacturing process, supported by Ahmad and friends. The total were six, these aircraft were also utilized for developing the desire of aviation things for Indonesian people. At the same time also acquaint the aviation world into the pilots who were ready to have a training in India.

Then in 1948, they were succeeded in manufacturing the first engine, powered by Harley Davidson, called WELL-X. It was designed by Wiwieko Supono and called as RI-X.

This era was marked by the emergence of a number of aeromodelling clubs which led to the birth of our aviation technology pioneer called Nurtanio Pringgoadisuryo, but they had to stop this activity due to the communist Madiun Rebellion and Dutch aggression.

In this period, the aviation activities were primarly carried out as part of the physical revolution for the national freedom. The existing aircrafts were modified for combat missions. Agustinus Adisutjipto was the most remarkable figure in this era, the one who designed and flight-tested an aircraft and also flown the aircraft in a real air-battle. He modified the Cureng aircraft into ground-attack version.

After the Dutch occupational era has ended, the activities that mentioned above was continued in Andir Airfield, Bandung – which later known as Husein Sastranegara Airport. In year 1953, this activity was institutionalized into Trial Department. Managed by 15 members, under the supervision of Komando Depot Perawatan Teknik Udara, led by Air Major Nurtanio Pringgoadisurjo.

Based on Nurtanio’s design on August 1, 1954, that department has succeeded fly the first prototype of ‘Si Kumbang’, all-metal, single-seated aircraft, and it was made in three units.

On April 24, 1957, due to Decree of the Chief of Staff of Indonesian Air Force No. 68, the Trial Department was upgraded into a larger organization called Sub Depot Investigation, Experimentation and Manufacture.

In the following year, 1958, the basic trainer prototype ‘Belalang 89’ was successfully flown. As a serial production, the following aircraft was called as Belalang 90, was made in 5 units and they got some of top pilot candidates from Indonesian Air Force and Indonesian Army. In the same year, the sport aircraft ‘Kunang 25’ was flown. The philosophy of this aircraft was to motivate the Indonesia’s young generation who are interested in the field of aircraft manufacturing.

To enhance their aeronautical background, during period 1960-1964's, Nurtanio and three other colleagues were sent to Far Eastern Air Transport Incorporated (FEATI) Philippines, one of the first aeronautical university in Asia. After completing their study, they returned to Bandung to work for LAPIP.


Belalang Aircraft


Kunang Aircraft


Sikumbang Aircraft 



In line with the achievement that have been obtained and the possibility to develop faster, based on Head of Indonesian Air Force Staff Decree No. 488, August 1960, Aviation Industry Preparation Agency (Lembaga Persiapan Industri Penerbangan/ LAPIP) was established. On December 16, 1961, the agency was established and had a function to prepare aviation industry establishment with the capacity to support national aviation activities in Indonesia.

Along with this, in 1961 LAPIP signed an agreement with CEKOP, an aircraft industry from Poland, to establish an aircraft industry in Indonesia. The contract covered the construction of aircraft factory facility, HR training and production under the license of PZL-104 Wilga, and then recognized as Gelatik (Padda-Indonesian bird). Aircraft that manufactured serially in 44 units was used to support agriculture activity, lightweight transport, and aero-club.

In the same period, in 1965, through a Presidential Decree, KOPELAPIP (Komando Pelaksana Industri Pesawat Terbang) or Executive Command for Preparation of Aviation Industry and PN. Industri Pesawat Terbang Berdikari (Berdikari Aircraft Industry) was established.

On March 1966, Nurtanio passed away in an aircraft flight testing, and in order to commemorate his valuable contribution to his country and nation, KOPELAPIP and PN, Berdikari Aircraft Industry was merged with LIPNUR (Lembaga Industri Penerbangan Nurtanio) or Nurtanio Aviation Industry Agency. In further development, LIPNUR produced a basic trainer aircraft called LT-200 and built a workshop for after-sales-service, repair and maintenance, and overhauls.

In 1962, according to Presidential Decree, Aerospace Engineering of Institute Technology of Bandung was established as a part of available Machine Department. Oetarjo Diran and Liem Keng Kie were pioneers of this aviation section. These two figures were included among those who joined in Overseas Scholarship Student Program. Initiated in 1958, through this program, some of Indonesian students were sent abroad (Europe and United States of America).

Meanwhile other efforts in pioneering aircraft industry establishment are also done by a young Indonesian man – B. J. Habibie – from 1964 to 1970s.



Five main factors that lead into the establishment of IPTN are: There are some Indonesian who had dreamed since a long time to build an aircraft and establish an aircraft industry in Indonesia; some Indonesian who had mastery in science and technology to build an aircraft and aircraft industry; some Indonesian who, besides mastering science and technology needed, they are also very dedicated to utilize their skills in establishing aircraft industry; some Indonesian experts in aircraft sales and marketing for both national and international scopes; political will from the ruling government.

The harmonious integration from those factors has made IPTN as an aircraft industry with adequate facilities.

Everything were started from Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie, a man who was born in Pare-Pare, South Sulawesi (Celebes), on June 25, 1936. He was graduated from Aachen Technical High Learning, Aircraft Construction Department, then he worked in MBB (Masserschmitt Bolkow Blohm), an aircraft industry in Germany since 1965.

When he was about to get his doctorate degree, in 1964, he had a strong willing to return to his country to participate in Indonesia development program in the aviation industry. But KOPELAPIP management suggested him to keep seeking more experiences while waiting the possibility in establishing aircraft industry. In 1966, when Adam Malik, Indonesia’s current Minister of Foreign Affairs visited Germany, he asked Habibie to contribute his thoughts for the realization of Indonesia Development.

Realized that the efforts to establish an aircraft industry was impossible to be done by himself, Habibie decided to start pioneering in preparing skillful human resources at the fixed time could anytime be employed by the future aircraft industry in Indonesia. Habibie soon set up a voluntarily team. In the early of 1970s the team was sent to Germany to start working and learning science and technology in aviation field at HFB/ MBB, place where Habibie worked, to execute their initial planning.

In the same period, a similar activity was also pioneered by Pertamina (Perusahaan Minyak Indonesia) on its capacity as an agent of Indonesia Development. With such capacity, Pertamina succeeded in establishing Krakatau Steel Industry. Ibnu Sutowo, current President Director of Pertamina at that time, contributed his thoughts that the process of transferring technology from developed countries should be carried out with a clear concept and national-oriented.

In early December 1974, Ibnu Sutowo met Habibie in Dusseldorf, Germany, where he gave an elaborate explanation to Habibie about Indonesia Development, Pertamina with the dream of establishing aircraft industry in Indonesia. The result of the meeting was the appointment of Habibie as Pertamina President Advisor, and he was asked to return to Indonesia immediately.

In early January 1974, a decisive step towards the establishment of aircraft industry had taken. The first realization was the establishment of new division that specialized in advanced technology and aviation technology matter. Two months after Dusseldorf meeting, on 26 January, 1974, Habibie was called by President Soeharto. On that meeting Habibie was appointed to be President Advisor in technology field. It was the first day for Habibie to start his official mission.

These meeting resulted the establishment of ATTP Division (Teknologi Lanjutan & Teknologi Penerbangan Pertamina) which became the milestone for the establishment of BPPT and part of IPTN.

In September 1974, ATTP signed the agreement to license collaborate with MBB (Germany) and CASA (Spain) to manufacture BO-105 helicopter and fixed wing NC212.



When the efforts of the establishment has shown its form, there was a problem faced by Pertamina which later influenced the existence of ATTP, projects and its program, that was about aircraft industry. But, realizing that ATTP division and its projects were a way to prepare Indonesians to ‘take-off’ for Pelita VI, so the government decided to continue the establishment of aircraft industry with its all consequences.

Based on this thing, according to Government Regulation No. 12, April 5, 1976, the preparation of aircraft industry was started. Based on this regulation, all assets, facilities and potencies were accumulated covering Pertamina’s assets, ATTP Division which had prepared for establishing aircraft industry with LIPNUR assets, Indonesian Air Force, as the basic assets for aircraft industry. These basic assets hopefully can support the development of aircraft industry which is able to answer all challenges.

On April 26, 1976, based on Notarial Deed No.15, Jakarta, PT. Industri Pesawat Terbang Nurtanio was officially established with Dr. B. J. Habibie as the President Director. When the physical facility of this industry completed, in August 1976, President Soeharto inaugurated this aircraft industry.

On October 11, 1985, PT. Industri Pesawat Terbang Nurtanio was moved to PT. Industri Pesawat Terbang Nusantara or IPTN.

From this point, a new horizon of a modern and complete aircraft industry in Indonesia had just begun. In this period all infrastructure aspects, facilities, human resources, law and regulations, and those that related and support the existence of aircraft industry integrally implemented. Previously, in 1960s and 1970s this issue was never thought seriously. Moreover, this industry developed a progressive technology and industry transformative concept that apparently gave an optimal result in mastering aviation technology in a relatively short time, 20 years.

IPTN had a point of view that transferring technology should be implemented integrally and completely and covers hardware, software, and brainware where human as the core. That is human who has a capability of strong willingness, capability and perspective in science, theory and skill to implement them in a concrete work. Based on this, IPTN has applied a transferring technology philosophy that called “Begin at the end and End at the beginning”. It is a philosophy to absorb advanced technology progressively and gradually in a process that inseparable and based on Indonesia’s objective needs. Through this philosophy then thoroughly mastered, not only the material but also the capability and skills. This philosophy also can be adjusted with the development and advancement that achieved by other country.

This philosophy also teaches that in manufacturing an aircraft it does not always begin from components, but directly learned the end of a process (an already-manufactured aircraft), then reversing through phases of components manufacturing. Transferring technology phase divided into:

  • Phase of utilizing the existing technology/ License Program
  • Phase of Technology Integration
  • Phase of Technology Development
  • Phase of Basic Research

The target of first phase is mastering manufacture ability and at the same time sorting out and determine aircraft type that fulfill the domestic needs: the result of sales will be used to support the company business capability. It is recognized as the progressive manufacturing method.

The second phase is aimed to master the self-design capability. The third phase is intended to improve self-design skills. The fourth phase is aimed to master the basic knowledge in order to support the development of superior new products.



As 24 years of its establishment, IPTN had successfully transferred sophisticated and latest aviation technology, mostly from the west hemisphere to Indonesia. IPTN had mastered in aircraft designing, development, and manufacture small to medium range of regional commuter.

In facing new global market system, IPTN defined itself as ‘IPTN 2000’ which focusing on applying new strategy, business oriented, to fulfill current situation with new structure.

The restructuring program covers business re-orientation, justify and arrange human resources with available workloads, and strong capitalization based on market which market focused and concentrated business mission.

Now, PT IPTN selling its excessive capability in engineering – by offering design to test activity services, manufacture, aircraft & non-aircraft components, and aftersales services.

In relation, IPTN’s name had changed into PT. DIRGANTARA INDONESIA (PERSERO) or Indonesian Aerospace (IAe) that officially inaugurated by President of Indonesia Republic, KH. Abdurrahman Wahid, in Bandung on August 24, 2000.


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