Bandung, W Java (ANTARA) - State-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) introduced the Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance drone (PUNA MALE) model to counter territorial threats, including smuggling, piracy, terrorism, and natural resource theft.

PTDI's President Director Elfien Goentoro stated here on Monday that PUNA MALE is an efficient drone to support air operations to defend the country's sovereignty.

"Next year, the initial flight of (the drone) is targeted. Now, it is still under development manufacturing," Goentoro stated at the company's Rotary Wing hangar.

A mere 700-meter runway is required for take-off and landing of the MALE drone that can fly up to 20 thousand feet in height and attain a maximum speed of 235 kilometers per hour.

"The drone is designed to fly for 30 hours. We have set the target for certification in 2024. It will be equipped with missile," he explained.

Goentoro stated that the company will build two prototypes of the drone, with each used for flight test and structure endurance test by the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT).

During the same year, the military product certification process will also begin. A certificate for the drone is expected to be secured from the Defense Ministry's Center of Airworthiness in 2021.

BPPT's head Hammam Riza stated that the PUNA MALE will also be prepared to support land and forest monitoring.

"With land and forest fires occurring every year, simultaneous monitoring is required for observing the condition of clouds, weather, hotspots, and water surface in peatland areas," Riza remarked.

The PUNA MALE drone, equipped with synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) technology, can detect water content in a peatland 30 centimeters below the land surface.

"If we can detect the water content before the land gets too dry, we can wet (the peatland) to prevent forest fires and the emergence of hotspots," he added.

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Translator: Bagus AR, Sri Haryati
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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