Indonesia’s state-owned aerospace firm PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) announced on January 17 that it will collaborate with Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) to develop a new medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), with an operating altitude of 40,000 feet.
PTDI production director Arie Wibowo said that the Indonesian government “wanted to reduce dependency on manufacturers in Western countries” and reap the benefits of technology transfers between the two firms. “We need an experienced firm like TAI, a firm from a Muslim country with an advanced technology in the aviation industry,” Wibowo told the Indonesian media. He added that the development would be completed within one to three years.
TAI has already developed what it describes as a MALE UAV, in the shape of the Anka, which first flew seven years ago. It has an endurance of 24 hours, but its service ceiling is only 30,000 feet. The Anka has entered service with the Turkish armed forces, but no firm export orders have been reported.
The Anka was weaponized last year, armed with Turkey’s own MAM-L mini air-to-surface missile and CİRİT laser-guided air-to-surface rocket, both made by Roketsan. TAI has developed two more variants, the Anka-B and Anka-S. The Anka-B carries an Aselsan synthetic aperture radar and greater payload. For operations beyond line-of-sight, TAI produced the Anka-S, with a Turksat 4B satcom system installed in a more bulbous nose.
This UAV project follows a framework agreement signed by the two companies last July, for collaboration on PTDI’s N219 and N245 small and regional turboprop projects that are still under development. TAI could provide some form of expertise to these programs.