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Indo Defence 2018: Indonesia’s defence capabilities enhanced through sharing practices

8th November 2018 - 09:19 GMT | by Helen Haxell in Jakarta

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The island nation of Indonesia is one of independence; however, through ongoing and new transfer of technology (ToT) programmes the indigenous production of equipment is looking to shape the country’s defence and policing policies now and into the future.

From the domestic production of RIBs to missile launchers, the nation’s manufacturing capabilities are strongly focused on patrolling the 18,000 islands as well as combating terrorist activities.

This is being supported by the international community, particularly the UK. Whilst the foreign trade embargo lift 16 years ago is a distant memory ToT is now a big part of the defence business in Jakarta.

One case in point is PT Bhinneka Dwi Persada, a supplier to the Indonesian military and beneficiary of foreign equipment, is using ToT to boost the nation’s independence in producing its own equipment.

Feba Affan, director at PT Bhinneka Dwi Persada, commented to Shephard that in recent years the Indonesian government had stated that now was the time to start developing in Indonesia and this has been helped through ToT, which, in turn, has aided the company’s growth.

‘We were pushed to start thinking on local content but you can’t start from zero, it takes a long time, we are [continuing] to look for overseas partners with products,' Affan said.

PT Bhinneka Dwi Persada works closely with UK-based company Qinetiq on its target systems, in particular the Rajawal-TG ‘Banshee’.

Licensed by Qinetiq, the Banshee target system is operated in more than 39 countries by over 60 customers and can be utilised on sea and land. With 23,000ft maximum altitude and a 90-minute endurance, its launch speed stands at 62kt.

The Indonesian company spans multiple domains including the Rajawal RH-2000 hovercraft, a mobile command control vehicle as well as the 330 and 720 UAV systems.

‘First, we ask companies how to maintain the equipment, secondly, we [focus on] training for us, our military at our facility and thirdly, we [consider] which products we can do locally,’ she said.

The team currently learns to incorporate the technology techniques for equipment then it applies these skills going forward, Affan confirmed ‘The team here can-do integration, we [then] learn how to do it for ourselves.’

Key areas the company is exploring is the adoption of UAVs in the patrolling of some of the remote islands which form part of the archipelagic nation’s composition.

Another area is engine manufacturing in-country which the company is looking to develop further with the Ukraine.

Affan did remark to Shephard that the prospective of Brexit was good for the UK as before trade relations and partnerships just might not have come to fruition being part of the EU.

In a press briefing at Indo Defence 2018, the UK government’s regional director for Asia, Alexis Hammer said that ‘Indonesia is front and centre of [the UK’s] South East Asia strategy’.

Hammer highlighted key areas in Indonesia are: ground-based air defence; maritime and cyber. He said how the UK and Indonesia can share experiences on patrolling waters both being island nations; conversations at the show between the Chief of Navy and the UK government took place but no details were provided on what was discussed.

Whilst ToT partnerships is a key driver for the UK-Indonesia partnership, the shared knowledge between the two nations on cyber crime was highlighted as a key tool in tackling this activity.

In October, a MoU was signed between the countries which stresses safeguards and educational moves in adopting and sustaining cyber strategies and preventative measures.

Hammer told Shephard, ‘it provides an avenue so the UK and Indonesia are able to share equipment and also experiences in developing credible cyber skills.’

He said how it was a strategy which works at a public level, educating on rudimentary measures like safe passwords all the way up to the macro level of best practices with businesses and government – ‘it’s about protecting critical infrastructure,’ Hammer added.

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