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Indonesia MALE UCAV program (Elang Hitam/Black Eagle) News and Update

I thought it was cancelled.

BRIN never said it is cancelled. I believe you heard it on Jane Defense. This project will be civilian oriented, not using money from Defense Minister anymore. Since 2015, the fund comes from Minister of Research and Minister of Defense.

In 2020, BRIN become independent from Minister of Research. The Director stated it will be developed into civilian program and will not use money from Minister of Defense.

There is change of orientation as well interm of development. Before, there is urgent need to make the UAV fly and complete its development phase as soon as possible. For this development, there will be several phase development. All of subsystems developed by Indonesian companies, university, and research institution (BRIN, LAPAN) will go on but because we need to complete the development as soon as possible, the first development will be used several imported critical technologies.

Current BRIN Director chose not to use imported critical technology and prefer to wait the development of critical technologies being developed by Indonesian consortium. The decision of course will delay the development, but it is necessary since BRIN has many research and need to use budget allocated for them more effective and efficiently.

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Chairman of the country's National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) Laksana Tri Handoko confirmed with Janes on 15 September that resources from the project, which would have armed the country's air force with indigenously developed strike-capable UAVs, are being diverted towards civil initiatives instead.

 
Is there involvement of the private sector or is it entirely a government endeavour?

The main consortium consist of Government Research Agency, state owned university (ITB), and 2 SOE (Indonesian Aerospace/PT Dirgantara Indonesia and PT LEN Industry).

But after I search again there is one Indonesian private owned company involved on the program under subcontract project from PT LEN Industry.

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Heru also conveyed that ORPA's performance targets this year apart from producing 1 target Unmanned Aircraft Component Prototype, 1 target Prototype Manned Aircraft Component, and 1 target Prototype Satellite Component, will also produce a minimum of 150 international scientific publications, and 60 intellectual property.

Meanwhile for the manned and unmanned aircraft key technology research program, from 2022 to 2024, together with researchers from the Nanotechnology and Materials Research Organization (ORNM), a composite data base for aircraft applications, such as float N219A, UAV wings and body, will be built with researchers from the Energy and Manufacturing Research Organization (OREM).

It is planned that in 2025, the N219A composite float technology developed by BRIN will be ready to be integrated by PT. DI (Indonesian Aerospace), as a certified aircraft manufacturer.

For unmanned aircraft research, the key technological research for 2023-2026 will be on the autopilot subsystem, for 50 kg and 200 kg unmanned aircraft, which must comply with different aviation safety regulations. Research on the development of unmanned aircraft operating modes for various missions (observation of disaster/volcano areas, mapping, and smart farming) is also continuing, in collaboration with ministry/institutional and private partners.


 
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Mimin (Admin) will give you a recap of Len's agenda yesterday! Starting from President Joko Widodo's visit to the Jabodebek (Greater Jakarta) LRT Test, Monitoring and Evaluation of MALE aircraft at PT Dirgantara Indonesia, to the 2023 KOMCAD (reserved troops) Designation Ceremony by the Minister of Defense Prabowo Subianto.

 
Second Test Flight is planned to be conducted in the end of November (2023). Hoping to be a successful test flight. First test flight was not satisfactory, the problem is on the mission system.
 
The Indonesian government doesn't prioritise this project for some reason.
 
Current development is reported to be funded by Indonesian Aerospace. BRIN is focusing on the indigenous mission system development and composite material research.

So basically the program is still going on with two different fund from different institutions. Previously it was BRIN program but right now Indonesian Aerospace and Defense ID take the lead of the development.

The Indonesian government doesn't prioritise this project for some reason.

It is now kicking in, the photo is recent. Engine test. Alhamdulillah, in late November they want to have another test flight.

Indonesia spending is pretty much controlled by Sri Mulyani, our Finance Minister. She is too much focus on the macro economy and growth rate. Less focus on the defense program research. This approach is also fit with Jokowi mindset. Indonesia is the opposite of Turkey in this matter.

Pretty much we are so frustrated with current government handle on KF21/IFX program. They want to make new government get the financial burden on KF21/IFX program, it is because KF21 program is not completed during their period. The same thing happen with R80 program as well and they kick out the program from government program. Regardless of that I am still having Syukur (Islamic term) that the administration started paying the development cost again for KF21/IFX program since 2022 and paid again in 2023 (February with much larger payment then 2022). Next year they will do the payment again with larger amount. This is already quite positive thing..........

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Photo from : Bambang Haryanta. Previous picture also comes from him.

Engine Test : Rotax 915

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Under new administration, I speculate they will likely start STEALTH UCAV program that also can be used as Wingman for IFX fighter program, but would logically be started after IFX (Indonesian KF21 version) development is completed as I think will likely happen in 2029.

Indonesian Aerospace will likely develop R80 program as well starting in 2026 in cooperation with PT Regio Aviasi. So the design engineers from Indonesian Aerospace will likely be very busy for 2026 -2028 period. Once the plane is able to fly inshaAllah, then it is the time we could possibly see the start of STEALTH UCAV program in Indonesia that could happen in 2029/ 2030.

All of experience and expertise taken from KFX/IFX program and Elang Hitam MALE UCAV program will be the basis for the development. Money is likely available as Indonesia starting from 2026 will likely give more focus on indigenous research program after the focus on infrastructure development during Jokowi 2014 - 2024 period, 2025 period is still showing Jokowi period though since 2025 state budget will still be made under Jokowi administration.

Ganjar - Mahfud team has already pledged 1 % of GDP for research budget every year ( state budget + SOE budget + private sector budget). That looks very big ( 20 billion USD for 2028 for projected 2 trillion USD nominal GDP based on IMF latest projection), but despite in reality this figure unlikely to happen within 2025 - 2035 period, it is already showing the importance of research fund under Ganjar - Mahfud team where I hope they would win 2024 Presidential election. Further more, aerospace and defense industries are part of Indonesia 2045 vision based on Planning Ministry latest road map to achieve 2045 vision as a developed nation.

Possible future drone programs :

1. STEALTH Wingman drone that can also work individually ( important to compliment IFX program), supersonic, jet engine, the same composite material with KF21 plane.

Engine more likely from Russia or France/ Safran. South Korea/ Turkey/India/Iran are another options if they are successful in making indigenous jet engine.

2. STEALTH MALE UCAV. Subsonic speed. Battery powered engine ( silence / less noise engine)

3. Kamikaze long endurance Drone with warhead. Subsonic speed.

4. STEALTH and Non STEALTH tanker drones.

5. Cargo drone. Civiliant role, subsonic speed. It can be merged with Non STEALTH tanker drone for military use.

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For indigenous engine, Indonesian must focus on lithium+Nickel based battery powered engine. Research on this engine has already been started, clever move as we have already had program on this sector for EV battery industry.
 
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Elang Hitam (Black Eagle) MALE UCAV.
Location: Indonesian Aerospace
Photo from : Bambang Haryanta.

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