Locally made INDRA and ISRA surveillance radar to monitor Sunda Strait

The Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) is planning to build an integrated radar system, using locally produced radars, in the Sunda Strait, which separates the islands of Java and Sumatra. Mashury Wahab from LIPIs Research Center for Electronics and Telecommunications said it would begin operating what it called the Indonesian Sea Radar, or ISRA, in the system.

ISRA, the first locally produced radar with a maximum range of 60 kilometers, was launched last year.

"The radar would be used to monitor the movement of ships to prevent any conduct that may cause disadvantage to our country. "It can also be used to prevent ship collisions when they are about to harbor," he said.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a visit made by Research and Technology Minister Suharna Sura-pranata to the location of the first radar in Anyer, Banten. It is installed near the areas lighthouse. Two other radars are planned for installation by 2011 one in Southern Lampung and another in Merak area, near the Suralaya power plant. The three radars are expected to produce an integrated system of monitoring, which will later be used as a model to build similar systems in other areas.

The data from the radar system, when it is established, can be utilized by many parties, especially the authorities at Merak Port."We hope that this radar would help ease the countrys dependence on radars produced outside Indonesia for military or civilian interest," Mashury said.

LIPI head Umar Anggara Jenie said ISRA was one of LIPIs successful research institutions that the Research and Technology Ministry claimed was part of its 100-day Cabinet program. The need for an improved maritime monitoring system is urgent, given the fact that maritime areas comprise two-thirds of Indonesias territory, and that the country had suffered billion dollar losses due to illegal fishing, smuggling and trespassing.

Mashury said that while radars produced outside the country might cost up to Rp 8 billion (US$856,000), ISRAs production cost was only around Rp 2.5 billion. Mashury said the radars could monitor movements and the speed of ships that pass through the strait, one of the countrys busiest sea lanes.

To identify those ships, another device, named the automatic identification system, would be integrated into the system, he added. Mashury said there was a possibility that ships could block the signals of radars by producing stronger signals or using anti-radar equipment. However, the radar was more dependable than satellite usage, which allowed ships to trick the satellite detecting system by muffling or moving their transmitters from one ship to the other, he added.

LIPI plans to market the local radars to several institutions such as the Transportation Ministry and the military, as well as the Coordinating Agency of Maritime Safety. Deputy Transportation Minister Bambang Susantono said the new radar needed to be integrated with the radars it had. "We have our own radar system, which aims to detect almost all ships in Indonesia," he said. "One thing we can do is work together for the inter-operability of this new system to existing ones," he said, (dis)


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