Drone Finding Challenges Indonesia's Defense, Remote Sensing Capabilities



Petir Garda Bhwana

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The recent detection of an underwater drone or an Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV) belonging to a foreign nation deep inside Indonesia's territorial waters has challenged the country's defense and remote sensing capabilities, a member of parliament stated.

    "This is a homework for Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto to enhance our capabilities to accelerate the development of remote-sensing technology," Sukamta, a member of the House of Representatives’ (DPR’s) Commission I, stated on Saturday.

    To this end, the government should push its national research agencies to meet the demands, the member of the House's commission overseeing security and foreign affairs noted.

    Indonesia may also be able to collaborate for technology transfer with several countries to enhance its mastery of defense technology, according to Sukamta, who represents the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) faction at the DPR.

    In connection with the discovery of this foreign country's UUV, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives (DPR), Azis Syamsuddin, also appealed to the government to strengthen Indonesia's underwater defense and security.

    "Any underwater drone and submarine of foreign countries cannot enter our sea without our government's permission," Deputy Speaker of the DPR, Azis Syamsuddin, stated on Friday.

    The Indonesian Foreign Ministry must lodge a protest with the country that owns the drone recently found by a fisherman near Selayar Island, South Sulawesi Province, he noted.

    The Foreign Ministry needs to also coordinate with the military (TNI) commander to take the necessary measures in response to the discovery of the foreign UUV, Syamsuddin noted.

    The TNI commander can dispatch TNI units to bolster their early-detection capability and to prevent the UUV from sending data obtained from the covert operation, he explained.

    The discovery of an underwater drone, bearing physical resemblance to China's Sea Wing UUV, undeniably poses a grave threat to Indonesia's underwater defense and security, he asserted.

    The Indonesian government must work to protect and secure the country's territorial waters by modernizing its underwater detection and tracking capability, he stated.

    The UUV was reportedly found by Saeruddin, a resident of Majapahit Village in Pasimarannu Sub-district, Selayar Islands District, South Sulawesi Province, on December 20, 2020.

    However, after securing it at his home for a week, this 60-year-old fisherman handed it over to a local military authority.

    The discovery of this underwater drone that can be used for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, deep water survey, and inspection-related purposes has come under the spotlight of Indonesian and international media outlets.

    Saeruddin was quoted by Detik.com as saying that the 175-kg drone was found floating while he was fishing at sea near Selayar Island on December 20, 2020.

    On discovery, the drone was equipped with two cameras and a still active light. Its light was still blinking when he had secured it, Saeruddin was quoted as saying.

    The local military authority then handed over the discovered underwater object to the Indonesian navy for investigation.

    According to reports, prior to the discovery of the underwater drone near Selayar Island on December 20, 2020, another underwater drone was found in the waters off Riau Islands in March 2019.

    Also Read: Indonesia Must Strengthen Underwater Defense, Security: House