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Air Platforms

Indonesia reveals armed reconnaissance UAV development programme

06 January 2020
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PTDI’s Elang Hitam (Black Eagle) appears to be modelled after the Chinese-made CH-4 MALE UAV. Source: PTDI

PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI), a state-owned Indonesian aerospace company, has unveiled the first prototype of an indigenously developed medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to the public at its Bandung headquarters on 30 December.

The strike-capable UAV has been designated Elang Hitam (Black Eagle) and is being developed by a local consortium led by PTDI, comprised of the Indonesian Ministry of Defence (MoD), the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT), the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU), the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN), as well as other state-owned firms including defence electronics prime PT Len.

According to specifications released by PTDI, the prototype Black Eagle UAV features a 16 m wingspan with an 8.65 m long and 2.6 m high fuselage. The air vehicle adopts a low-wing monoplane configuration that comprises mid-mounted wings and terminates in a V-shaped tail assembly and a rear-mounted engine that drives a two-bladed pusher propeller.

PTDI also stated that the Black Eagle has a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 1,300 kg and carry up to 420 kg of fuel. It will be equipped with a 4-stroke engine that produces up to 150 hp, which the company hopes will enable it to attain an operational ceiling of 23,622 ft (7,200 m) and cruise at altitudes between 9,842 and 16,404 ft. Desired cruise and maximum speeds have been stated as between 50 km/h and 180 km/h and up to 235 km/h, respectively.

PTDI also noted that the fully loaded air vehicle - carrying up to 300 kg of mission equipment and/or weapons - will feature a command radius of 250 km and will be capable of taking off from a 700 m-long runway and stay aloft for up to 30 hours when operating at cruise speeds.

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