LAPAN and Indonesian Rocket Program

May 24, 2009

LAPAN or Lembaga Antariksa dan Penerbangan Nasional (English: National Institute of Aeronautics and Space) is the government space agency. it was established on november 27, 1964 by President Suharto. Its function similar to NASA that responsible for long term civilian and military aerospace research.

For several years, there was no big news from LAPAN that incorporated with their program since their rocket launching test performed in 1962 with “Kartika” as the rocket code name. The different story is being delivered by LAPAN at this moment. After their collaboration with Germany institute (TU of Berlin) to develop micro satellite up to its service now (called LAPAN-TUBSAT satellite; launched in 2007), they started growing the intensity of the program, in developing new Indonesian built satellites and rocket testings prior to launching program that scheduled in 2014.

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Proving their capability and independence, LAPAN now finishing LAPAN-A2 as improved LAPAN-TUBSAT and Communication Repeater Satellite for Indonesian Amateur Radio Association in Bogor, West Java.

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The launching to the orbital of those satellites  are planned using Indian rocket in 2009 and 2010 with piggy back method. Especially for the  LAPAN-A2, it has additional improvements by adding some components results in heavier load with 65 kgs than 57 kgs LAPAN-TUBSAT, designed to have long distance remote sensing or surveying with resolution 5 and 200 meters, GPS transmitter for satellite position and time, altitude determination and control system (AD-CS) for body controlling system and stability especially during data acquisition, data storage and automatic camera control to reach specific geographic area. The size of LAPAN-A2 is 60 cm x 60 cm x 80 cm.

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A variety of satellite application and increasing demand of this media, worsened by embargo/veto for Indonesia not to purchase any kind of rocket components, drive Indonesia to empower all internal capability and resources independently building and developing rocket as orbital satellite launcher.

LAPAN that already 45 years on November 27, since 2007 had boosted rocket and satellite study and development, especially after got ability to produce solid rocket fuel.

In 2007, RX-250 (250 mm) had been launched successfully with distance 53 kms. After good result on static test, RX-320 rocket has successfully launched in Pameungpek, West Java on May 19, 2008 by transmitting navigation system data, aerodynamics performance, trajectory, environment condition and any obstruction during  launching. The special improvement from this test was RX-320 rocket used Indonesian own solid propellant. RX-320 rocket has dimension 320 mm diameter x 4,736 mm long and weight 532 kgs. The trust power is 52 ton/sec and reached 42 kms as per design.

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After successfully launched that experimental rocket with diameter 320 mm or coded RX-320 (the biggest so far for Indonesian built rocket), LAPAN again succeeded static test RX-420 on Tuesday (23/12/2008) at LAPAN Aerospace Technology Center, Tarogong, Tangerang. In 2009, Chief of LAPAN Adi Sadewo Salatun said after successful static test of RX-420, rocket launching program will be continued in 2009.

Testing of experimental rocket with diameter 420 mm (RX-420) has been postponed for a week because still required additional ballast load at propulsion tail for safety reason. In firing condition, this rocket may have 10 tons in 11 sec. From the test, the performance is slightly better than design, especially on boosting power. Its launching schedule is rumored will be sometime in July 2009 after the first stage of Indonesian president election.

This RX-420 rocket is the main part of the first LAPAN satellite orbital launching vehicle (SLV-1) that scheduled in 2014, said by Yus Kadarusman Markis, chief of LAPAN Aerospace Technology Center. SLV-I consists of three-stage rockets, which is in the first stage will be three RX-420 as booster, in second stage one RX-420 as sustainer and the last is three RX-320. With that configuration and LAPAN solid fuel, the SLV-1 has capability to launch nano satellite to the orbit.

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One RX-420 rocket weighs up to 2 tons is designed to have distance range about 120 kms,. With SLV-1 configuration, it may reach a vertical height up to 400 kms. This rocket can be loaded 50 kgs load to be able to the orbit minimum 250 kms high and at horizontal speed at 8 kms/sec.

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For the next development, LAPAN will develop rockets with bigger diameter, such as RX-540 dan RX-750 and liquid fuel that has better performance than solid fuel. RX-420 is the sixth rocket developed by Lapan after 70, 100, 150, 250, and 320 mm.

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As the limited budget as the major problem (as usual for Indonesia) for funding the research and experimental work, LAPAN still has many agendas in their work. One of that is there is a plan to modify the function of this developed rocket for military use to be balistic missile as a part of state independence on domestic built main strategic armament. However, LAPAN is not involved on that policy and it solely government decision (c.q. defense ministry and etc).

Taken from several sources (LAPAN, Kompas, etc).


Hard Situation for Indonesian Soldiers

May 23, 2009

Indonesia is the biggest country in ASEAN, comprises of thousand islands, with huge population more than 230 millions citizen, uneven wealth distribution and its associated problem. We consider some potential strengths with abundant nature resources and manpower/market that create the highest GDP among ASEAN countries, but it is not enough for country like Indonesia. Indonesia now has to pay debt resulted from previous dictatorship and maintain if not improve the existing condition in any field of country live that spread and separated among thousand island. We can imagine for country like Malaysia and Thailand with smaller land area and much simpler link between their regions, they can buy more luxurious and sophisticated material/equipment and build more luxurious construction such as international airport class than Indonesia can afford now.

Those conditions also apply to main armament of Indonesian armed forces. There is no bright hope for us to fund some procurements regarding the new war equipment with sufficient amount. Instead of having newer class of submarines and warships,  that converting from buyer solely to be licenced producer or nation with technology transferred capability that meaning Indonesia must be a big buyer first, up to now Indonesia is still struggling with fundamental economics problem. In recent budget, from more than Rp 120 trillion (= USD 12 billion) of defense budget, only been approved about Rp 33 trillion (= USD 3.3 billion) with about Rp 26 trillion (=USD 2.6 billion) spent for routine cost for soldiers’s wage and pension. With only Rp 7 trillion (=USD 0.7 billion) for 2009, guess what happen with our main armament refreshment?

There were many alarms to this situation, unnecessary fallen soldiers without battle is very very disappointed and disgrace the country, not only for inside TNI but also for whole nation elements, like myself. They were very high national potential asset that this country had. Examples of that disgraced problem can be mentioned as follows: sunk tanks, fallen fokker, training aircraft and some hercules fatal accidents.  Somebody may say the strong soldier does not depend highly on the equipment he holds, but comes from his spirit. it is kind of bullshit that relating to recent world. No other soldier act as gothic or crusade soldier era that stand much on his bravery and spirit. Now, no one can put aside the importance of the equipment. It is quite true for the navy and air force that both are heavy with good and sophisticated equipment elements. I strongly disagree and disappointed if that statement comes from high level armed forces officer … it is like fooling our mind … come on general …

Let us imagine, if one soldier rated as 3 regular citizens and one special force member rated as 3 regular soldiers, how many asset we have been suffered from their lost … not considering how sorrowful their family. Why the elite politicians and their cronies in presidential and legislative office not aware about this? Or they just lift their image prior to general election by cutting the armed forces budget to other sectors of development without good order or mitigation acts? Or we have to supress all big dream to build enough deterrence power with just spare the available budget to maintain and extend the life of our old weak armament? Or we have to boost all domestic built war armaments with our own state companies, again with little support from government support? Or it just resulted from weak and stupid defense minister that can explain the existing condition in detail to president and legislative member as been rumorred? Those questions must be addressed to the nation’s elite today.

Open the investigation result, open the real fact to open the hearth of all nation’s elements and do not just please the boss! Do not sacrifice our soldiers in their doomed fate!!!


Indonesian Dream: Guided Missile Escort Ship

May 19, 2009

Republic of Indonesia (RI) is the country that lies on equator line, in between India and Pacific ocean and consists of more than 17 thousand islands that spreads in distance equals to LA and New York distance. With that specific condition and its importance related to international business and politics path, the maritime power of Indonesia has big challenge related to new emerging powers that surrounds the country, the pirates problems againts Indonesian armed force’s litlle budget.

Indonesia anyway must compromise between their need to lift economy development because still many people classified as poor class citizen (cited from Biro Pusat Statistic-Statistic Center Bueareu, as of 2006, an estimated 17.8% of the population live below the US 1.08 consumption/day or World Bank’s poverty line, 49.0% of the population live on less than US$2 per day and unemployment rate at 9.75%) and the nation security (c.q. nation pride). To compromise those goals, recently there are many ideas to develop our own strategic state companies by small research works through retrofits and clone the old or unserviced armaments, trial and error works, transfer of technology (ToT) and licensed agreements. One of Indonesian dream is to build state of the art vessel in our factory, in our teritory.  PT PAL as the only realiable strategic stae company of Indonesia that bases in Surabaya City has the chalenge to do it. PT Pal goes with their stronger proposal to plan (if yet not to build) Indonesian corvette with some helps of more developed industrial countries with upgraded program to be “guided missile escort ship” (after fail on ToT agreement upon production 3rd and 4th Sigma class corvette in Surabaya from Royal Schelde Naval Shipbuilding Vlissingen-Netherland).

Until now, the national corvette slogan among the military community and enthusiastic people in Indonesia is very popular. Yes, it is one of the ideas of Indonesia government to provide high technology strategic armament independently within country. It slogan heard for the first time since 2004. Principally, at that moment, that battleship had overall length 80 meters. If to be compared, that vessel equal to KRI Fatahillah (361), a Dutch made vessel.

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TNI AL as a user welcomed seriously and with enthusiasm, and if that program worked smoothly, in 2006 the design would be expanded to be frigate class ship design, with overall length about 104 meters and would be assisted by ship builder from Italy, Fincantierri.

A change happened again. The hull length was lengthened to be 105 meters and the program is renamed to be Guided Missile Escort 105 meters or kapal Perusak Kawal Rudal (PKR) as more popular name among the TNI AL (Navy) community. The idea came from the possibility to equip the ship with bigger caliber gun. That ship has already current design trend with stealth concept. Particular corners at the vessel body have been designed by means of scientific calculation to deflect opponent radar signal optimally. The design also includes the elimination of open area as existed in conventional vessel and design of stealth tower and smokestack of the ship.

For the engine will use same concept as Sigma class ship has, that is Combination Diesel and Diesel (CODAD). For the weapon, the main one is positioned in frontage of the ship and another is on behind the main weapon for underwater mortar. Shifting backward, particularly on the ship platform there will be anti-aircraft missile Sinbad or Aspide class (air-to air missile). Similar system also designed in the back close to superstructure or helicopter deck. There will be also torpedo launcher on both sides.

Credit to: Karbol, militaryphotos, Angkasa Magazine, etc.


Pacific Partnership Produces Indonesian Army’s First WLCP

May 19, 2009

Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Crista Yazzie
USARPAC Public Affairs

(taken from http://www.usarpac.army.mil/news/plantseed.asp)

BANDUNG, Indonesia – Three United States Army, Pacific non-commissioned officers traveled here recently to conduct the first Warrior Leader Course with the Indonesian Army.

The course is designed to train junior NCOs to lead at the squad level.

“At the request of the Indonesian Army, we are participating in the development of this leadership course to develop confident and competent NCOs and they can extract the relevant information that we’re training and mold it into a course that they can teach their NCOs in the future,” said Sgt. Gerald Daniel, the program’s operations NCO at the Office of Defense Cooperation in Jakarta.

Daniel joined the USARPAC team from Hawaii consisted of Sgt. 1st Class Sehuan Flax, Staff Sgt. William Vargas, and Staff Sgt. J.J. Williams in Bandung to accomplish this mission.

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The team conducted two fifteen-day courses from June through August. The second course enrolled outstanding graduates of the first class in an Instructor Training Course. In true train-the-trainer fashion, the top students became instructors. Of the 42 WLC graduates, 20 were selected for the ITC.

“They are going about it the right way by giving them attributes to become efficient leaders so they can establish that confidence in the NCO Corps,” said Sgt. Maj. William Smith, USARPAC operations sergeant major, who compared the WLC course to planting a seed that must be tended to. “By tending to this seed, they have the opportunity to help that seed to grow into a more capable military.”

Overall, the obstacle encountered by all instructors aside from a language barrier was getting the students to rethink their role as decision-makers.

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“At their level, in their Army, they’re just given an order. They don’t actually get a chance or the opportunity to plan or make the decisions, it’s the officer that makes every decision,” Vargas said. “Normally, they wait for somebody to tell them what to do, so what we try to teach them is that they’re the one in charge, they make the decisions.”

During the course, emphasis was placed on leadership and responsibility. Students were taught the NCO Creed, Warrior Ethos, leadership and attitudes towards conducting tasks as leaders.

“Each day, we tackled a part of the Creed and then made sure it was understood, the meaning, and then go into ways to apply the meaning,” said Flax.

The three found ways to take their knowledge as instructors and NCOs and translated it with results. One example of a shift in response from students was the After Action Review, an open forum and standard throughout the Army for evaluating performance in an informal setting. The concept of the AAR was previously unknown to the Indonesian Soldiers.

“The first couple of AARs, no questions were asked, it was pretty quiet, and not a lot of interaction,” Flax said. “It was like pulling teeth to get them to comment. But now, they talk to one another. We’re showing them that they can be given a mission, even something simple like a wall locker inspection and execute.”

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This training is part of USARPAC’s Theater Security Cooperation Program and the Warrior Leader Course has the potential to have a long-term impact on the way the Indonesian Army develops their NCOs.

Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph P. Zettlemoyer, USARPAC Command Sergeant Major, said that the Indonesian Army is learning the right way for the future of the NCO Corps.

“I am elated that Indonesia has taken the first steps towards professionalizing their NCO Corps,” he said. “This enhances their capabilities while strengthening their units at the platoon and company level, and will eventually be a combat multiplier at the highest levels within their Army.”

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According to Zettlemoyer, future hopes include actual NCO academies, as well as further training.

“I would like to see NCO Academies within their Training Command that provide the necessary background in Leadership Fundamentals, Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills to their Soldiers and NCOs at different levels much like our WLC, Basic NCO Course, and Advanced NCO Course,” he said.

Both students and instructors expressed a feeling of accomplishment from the course.

“The WLC makes me proud to be an NCO because I understand the NCO has an important function for the Army, like a backbone,” said Sgt. Asep Anda, a squad leader from 301st Battalion, TNI (Tentera Nasional Indonesia) Infanteri.

Students were congratulated and encouraged to take pride in their NCO Corps by the U.S. Soldiers.

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“I am very proud of what you have accomplished in the short time you have been here with the challenges you had to overcome,” said Smith to the Soldiers after inspecting their barracks. “You are making history in your own country, and I ask that you all go out there and do your job to the best of your ability, hold your head high and never forget that it is important to be a leader.”“I hope that everything they learn in here, they can go back to their units and try to use it,” Vargas added. “It doesn’t matter if they take 70 percent or they take 100 percent, at least if they got something from us, and they get a chance to go and apply it. That’s something that will make me happy.”


Pindad Panser from Indonesia

May 11, 2009

The news and information of military and state defense topics of Indonesia, my beloved country, are the ones that I really interested in and care. This is kinda field that I wanna mostly surf in the web. The most interesting topic is military main system armament of Indonesia (=alutsista-excuse me for mistranslation). In related with that topic, there some strategic state owned companies that design and manufacture some military equipment for Indonesian armed forces. Generally for military related, PT Pindad concentrates in combat rifle/gun, combat vehicle, artillery, bullets/explosive and other accessories, PT Dirgantara Indonesia (formerly is PT Industri Pesawat Terbang Nusantara-IPTN) concentrates in aerial and aeronautical products such as fixed and rotary wing aircraft, PT PAL concentrates in combat vessel and associated nautical/marine products, PT Dahana concentrates in ammunition and explosives products, PT LEN concentrates in electronics and associated software products and so on.

There was an updated news about Pindad panser recently. A Pindad made panser is the one that makes me proud of. Finally our state owned company from Bandung can make a tremendous product that can contest with other foreign heavy military vehicle. Long enough I have heard regarding that project and still waiting for the latest updates for Pindad panser.

In Indo Defence & Aerospace Exhibition, November 2008, in Halim Perdanakusuma Airport, East Jakarta there was surprising show to me that the newest panser of Pindad in my opinion had a great difference and improvement with previously reported. It is a panser with 90 mm caliber canon. This canon panser was made in similar base with previously reported 6×6 panser that already been tested, commissioned and performed several dynamic demos in front of vice president of Indonesia during that exhibition. The newest type of Pindad panser will be tested and commissioned as soon as in 2009.

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Pindad’s source stated, a recent demand of the canon panser is to provide the cavalry brigade of the army (TNI-AD) and the amount is only 20’s units up to now. Pindad has finished the first prototype which was shown in this Indo Defence. “Now we are just waiting for engine installation,” said Tri Hardjono, Director of Development and Planning in Pindad’s booth to Angkasa.

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Pindad panser uses Renault diesel engine, inline 6 Cylinder 320 HP turbo charger inter-cooler. It is not only equipped with primary weapon 90 mm caliber but also completed with coaxial 7.62 mm automatic heavy gun.

Pindad panser has 6.0 m long x 2.5 m wide x 2.9 m high body dimension. This combat vehicle can be driven up to 600 km tour distance. Maximum speed is 90 km/hour with turning radius is 10 m. Other support equipment on this combat vehicle are NVG (night vision goggle) and 6 tons winch.

In early May 2009, some of Pindad pansers have been delivered to TNI-AD of  total 154 units that must be finished in April 2010.

Credit to Angkasa Magazine, Karbol & militaryphotos.


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