President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has expressed his desire to accelerate the creation of local long-range military drones - the first of its kind in the country - until 2022.
The drone, technically known as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), will be the first medium-high endurance UAV (MALE) in the country. State-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) will produce fuselage, while state-owned PT Len will build military equipment, such as sensors, radars, and weapons systems.
Vehicles in the MALE UAV category are designed to fly at altitudes between 3,000 and 9,000 meters for a long time.
"Our initial plan was to place the drone - we named it Black Hawk and it would be specifically used for military purposes - into mass production by 2024," Research and Technology Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said at the Presidential Office in Jakarta after a cabinet meeting on Thursday.
"But taking into account domestic demand, as well as the readiness of the design and manufacturing process, the President has instructed that [mass production of drones] be moved to 2022."
This drone was jointly designed by the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology, the National Aeronautics and Space Agency, and the Ministry of Defense's research institute.
Bambang added that Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto and Indonesian Military commander Air Commander Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto had expressed interest in long-range aircraft, especially for operations to secure the country's borders.
PTDI and PT Len originally planned to produce five Black Elang drones by 2022 before starting mass production. The first five drones will be prototypes to ensure that vehicles are in line with market demands, Bambang said.
The acceleration of the development of the drone prototype will mean that an investment of Rp 1.1 trillion (US $ 80.51 million) is needed, up from Rp 800 billion based on the original development plan, the minister said