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C4iSR: Joint & Common Equipment

Indonesia’s military satellite project uncertain after missed payment

08 November 2017

Key Points

  • Indonesia’s plans to expand satellite communications coverage of its naval fleet face disruption
  • Wider ambitions to operate a military satellite are also uncertain, as Indonesia is at risk of losing its designated orbital slot

Indonesia is at risk of losing an orbital slot reserved for a new military satellite from Airbus Space and Defence that was intended for launch in 2019, after the country failed to make payment to an interim solutions provider.

Indonesia has completed installation of SATCOM equipment across a number of vessels, including on KRI Sultan Hasanuddin, seen here in the Singapore Strait. (IHS Markit/Ridzwan Rahmat)Indonesia has completed installation of SATCOM equipment across a number of vessels, including on KRI Sultan Hasanuddin, seen here in the Singapore Strait. (IHS Markit/Ridzwan Rahmat)

Jane’s first reported that funding requests for a military satellite had been approved in June 2016, citing the transcript of a meeting between the Indonesian House of Representatives commission on defence, intelligence, and foreign affairs (Komisi I) and the country’s armed forces (Tentara Nasional Indonesia: TNI). The original acquisition cost was USD849.3 million.

The satellite, which would have been deployed by the TNI for voice, video, and data communications on the L-band frequency, was intended to occupy the orbital slot of 123 degrees east longitude, as allocated to Indonesia by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

This orbital slot was previously occupied by the Garuda-1 satellite belonging to Asia Cellular Satellite, which has been removed from orbit following various malfunctions.

The Indonesian government has engaged a UK-based provider of satellite data and communications solutions, Avanti Communications Group, to move a temporary ‘floater’ satellite into 123 degrees east longitude to retain the orbital slot, multiple sources from the TNI and industry informed Jane’s between late October and early November.

This temporary engagement was arranged in parallel with the installation of Ku-band stabilised parabolic antennas with radar domes, and associated satellite communication (SATCOM) systems on four of the Indonesian Navy’s (TNI-Angkatan Laut: TNI-AL) landing platform dock ships, and Diponegoro (SIGMA) and Bung Tomo classes of surface combatants.

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