Madrid-based Alpha Unmanned Systems (AUS) has established a licensed manufacturing partnership with Indonesian company PT Indadi Venyro in a bid to expand the former’s footprint across Southeast Asia. The partnership agreement was established in April 2023 after PT Indadi Venyro agreed to invest in AUS as a minority equity partner. Besides licensed manufacturing, the agreement would allow PT Indadi Venyro to provide local maintenance and support for AUS products in the region. AUS has supplied a maritime variant of its Alpha 900 rotor-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to the Indonesian Maritime Security Agency (BAKAMLA). These UAVs are in operation on the service’s largest vessels – the 110 m patrol vessel KN Tanjung Datu (1101), and the 80 m Pulau Nipah-class patrol boat KN Pulau Marore (322).
Maritime services such as BAKAMLA have long sought for aviation capabilities that would significantly extend the maritime surveillance and interdiction capabilities of its vessels. However, 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.
The Alpha 900 has a maximum take-off weight of 25 kg and a maximum cruise speed of 100 km/h. At the cruising speed of 60 km/h on its full payload, the UAV has an endurance of up to 2.2 hours. The UAV has a helicopter-like configuration with a tail and main rotors. In BAKAMLA service, the Alpha 900 has been equipped with the Epsilon 140LC dual-sensor surveillance system from Octopus ISR Systems. The surveillance system’s camera sensor has a 30x
optical zoom while its infrared sensor has a 4x digital zoom. The UAV has been incorporated with an automatic take-off and landing system that can operate at up to Sea State 4 for take-offs, and up to Sea State 5 for landings. The UAV is STANAG-compliant and features built-in redundancies for its critical systems. The UAV is not armed and when not in use, its main rotor blades can be folded for easier stowage and handling, especially when onboard vessels.