The Indonesian Navy (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Laut: TNI-AL) is establishing a new squadron to oversee the service’s unmanned naval aviation requirements. TNI-AL sources told Jane’s that the new squadron will be known as Skadron Udara 700 (Aviation Squadron 700) and it will be based in Juanda Surabaya. The first equipment to be operated by Skadron Udara 700 would include the Insitu ScanEagle surveillance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
Indonesia is currently anticipating the delivery of four Insitu ScanEagle UAVs and associated equipment, from the US government. The UAVs are being provided under a grant by the US government under a capacity-building programme for Southeast Asian navies known as the Maritime Security Initiative (MSI).
The MSI programme was first revealed by then US secretary of defense Ashton Carter at the 2015 iteration of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. The initiative seeks to improve maritime surveillance capabilities of Washington’s partners in the region: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. The Philippines took delivery of six ScanEagle UAVs, which have been delivered as part of the MSI programme, in March 2018.
The Indonesian MSI package seeks to specifically improve the country’s maritime patrol capabilities, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance integration, and equipment maintenance capacity. The aim is to ensure that Jakarta has the capacity to adequately safeguard its maritime territories and economic resources, and contribute to regional security and stability, according to a note on the MSI programme published on a US government website.