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Garuda: drone aircraft fleet to win the cargo transport challenge

An efficient system that will connect the 18 thousand islands of the Indonesian Archipelago

A fleet of UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, at remote control aircraft, or UAS, Unmanned Aerial Systems) capable of transporting tons of goods, to implement the project of an efficient cargo transport system that will connect the more than 18 thousand islands of the 'Indonesian archipelago, exploiting a network of 30 logistic structures strategically located in the country. This is the ambitious project of the national carrier Garuda Indonesia explained in recent weeks by the director of the Cargo and Business Development sector Mohammad Iqbal. Thanks to an agreement with the Chinese Beihang Uas Technology, Garuda will be able to count on a fleet of 100 drones capable of carrying a maximum load of 1200 tons each within a range of 1200 km, flying at an altitude of 5000 meters.

The program is part of a larger project to grow the company's domestic cargo operations. The agreement provides for each unit to be assembled by the local Indonesian national industry under license, which guarantees a considerable saving on the purchase costs of the fleet which is expected to partially repay the enormous amounts of money (an estimated 400 million American dollars by 2024) that the Nation is investing in modernizing its infrastructure, in order to maintain its key role as a mining and manufacturing center in Southeast Asia.

"The use of UAVs is an ideal opportunity for Garuda that allows us to seize the opportunities of the freight transport market, particularly in the connection of remote regions with limited airport facilities such as those in Maluku, Papua and Sulawesi", Iqbal added. "Currently we are coordinating with the interested parties also from a regulatory and operational management point of view, to ensure an easy flow of operations. We will begin to test UAV technology in terms of airport feasibility, runways, navigation, air traffic control, meteorology and logistics next September".

The type of drone used is developed by the BZK-005 (also known as Changying or Long Eagle), a high-altitude and long-range UAV with 18-meter wingspan, designed precisely by Beihang Uas Technology (and in the version in use in the Chinese Navy, made by Harbin Aircraft Industry), an offshoot of Beihang University in Beijing.

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