Last week, Indonesia’s deputy minister visited one of the facilities of Indonesia’s state-owned companies. The visit spotlighted the country’s ongoing efforts to build up its nascent but growing defense industry.
As I have noted before in these pages, Indonesia has been investing in boosting the country’s defense industry over the past few years as it builds up its military capabilities. That has continued under Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo in spite of some of the challenges that remain.
Last week, Indonesia’s domestic defense industry development was in the headlines with the visit of the country’s deputy defense minister to PT Pindad, one of Indonesia’s state-owned companies. Sakti Wahyu Trenggono led a delegation to pay a visit to the PT Pindad munitions division in Turen, Malang in East Java on March 6.
The visit, led by Trenggono but also featuring other officials including the secretary general of the defense ministry, consisted of a series of interactions at the munitions division, which has an area of approximately 166 hectares with various production facilities and testing laboratories. According to a statement by the Indonesian defense ministry (KEMHAN), the delegation was welcomed by PT Pindad director Abraham Mose and the head of the munitions division Budhiarto, where they reviewed the process of making munitions as well as the addition of a 55 mm caliber munitions production capacity facility.
Per KEMHAN, during the visit Trenggono noted efforts being made by PT Pindad in terms of developing its capabilities, including modernizing aspects of production and implementing an automation system to support the needs of the Indonesian military and police. But he also noted that modernization should be expedited to make production costs drop significantly and selling prices become much more affordable, noting the high price of bullets at 4,200 rupiah per gain and old production machines dating back to the 1960s. Abraham, for his part, agreed with the objectives mentioned and added that PT Pindad hoped for full support from the defense ministry for its efforts.
To be sure, Trenggono’s visit was just one of a series of interactions within the broader development of Indonesia’s domestic defense industry capabilities. As the KEMHAN statement itself noted, in the case of PT Pindad, in addition to the adjustments it is in the process of making, the area of the munitions division, which is strategically located, is itself still in the process of development, with more construction of factories pending as well as the need for more readily available materials.