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Indonesia steps up trials of Alpha A900 UAV as artillery spotter

The Indonesian Government has announced continued trials into the adoption of Alpha A900 unmanned systems for its military and maritime services.

The Indonesian Government has announced continued trials into the adoption of Alpha A900 unmanned systems for its military and maritime services.

Military officials oversaw the trials of the new unmanned aerial vehicle equipment at Husein Sastranegara International Airport in West Java, Indonesia on March 18.

The system is reportedly being evaluated on target detection capabilities and limits for field artillery support, to assist forward observers to find and engage targets. The system has a 100km range, four hour endurance, up to eight litre fuel tank and 4kg payload capacity.

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The Alpha A900 system is supplied by Spanish UAV manufacturer Alpha Unmanned Systems, who have previously delivered a maritime variant to the Indonesian Maritime Security Agency (BAKAMLA).

“This UAV field trial was carried out to see the capabilities and limits of the new armed system tool in target detection using an unmanned aerial vehicle,” according to statement from the Indonesian Field Artillery Weapons Center (translated)

“The activity started with a presentation of the sophistication and advantages of the ALPHA A900 Unmanned System, starting from the cruising capability which is capable of flying at a cruising speed of 100 km/hour, the maximum carrying capacity/MTOW (maximum take-off weight) weighing 25 kg, the flight endurance reaching four hours and encrypted data transmission as far as 50 km.

“Apart from that, it is also equipped with a camera with 30 times optical zoom and 4 times infrared zoom as well as geo-tracking capabilities.

“(Artillery) will now become more modern, sophisticated and adaptive so that it can compete with other developed countries in order to maintain the integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Indonesia.”

The Madrid-based Alpha Unmanned Systems has previously established a licensed manufacturing partnership with Indonesian company PT Indadi Venyro to expand opportunities across Southeast Asia.

Besides licensed manufacturing, the agreement would allow PT Indadi Venyro to provide local maintenance and support for AUS products in the region.

“Maritime services such as BAKAMLA have long sought for aviation capabilities that would significantly extend the maritime surveillance and interdiction capabilities of its vessels,” AUS said in a statement in April last year.

“Prior to the widespread adoption of rotor-wing UAVs, this capability was primarily found on shipborne helicopters, which are cost-prohibitive for services such as BAKAMLA, which often has to compete for funding resources with services such as the Indonesian Navy.

“The partnership between AUS and PT Indadi Venyro has the potential to further drive down costs associated with operating the Alpha 900, which in turn paves the way for a wider adoption of this UAV type on other BAKAMLA vessels.

“This wider adoption of rotary-wing UAVs would improve BAKAMLA’s ability to carry out maritime surveillance operations within Indonesia’s territorial waters and exclusive economic zones, effectively freeing Indonesian Navy vessels for operations further out at sea, especially along the country’s sea lines of communications.”

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