Indonesia’s Basarnas national SAR agency is seeing its investment in unmanned technologies pay off, with the new systems now proving themselves on operations.
The outfit, which also operates a fleet of AW139 and Dauphin SAR helicopters, has recently embraced the unmanned concept, inducting four UAVs and ten ROVs over the past 24 months, according to Basarnas representatives.
On the airborne front, the organisation has introduced the SDO 50V2 UAV from SwissDrone Operating, with four platforms now operated by six Basarnas pilots.
With an intermeshing rotor system, the SDO 50V2 has a maximum take-off weight of 85kg and can carry a payload of 50kg. The gimbal sensor’s day camera has an optical zoom of X30 and gives a field of view of 63.7°.
‘This is ideal for SAR operations, with a range of 16km. The great thing about the system is in the case of signal loss, the UAV automatically directs itself back to base,’ one representative explained.
For underwater search operations, Basarnas employs the SEA-SAR small ROV from US manufacturer JW Fishers. Capable of diving to 1300m, the unit has four cameras, providing stills and video images, and a 360° scanning sonar.
On December 28 2014, the use of the ROV was put to the test AirAsia Flight QZ8501 was lost after flying out of Surabaya, Indonesia, and Basarnas led recovery operations.
Since then, the organisation has also purchased two ACA100 medium ROVs for hydrographic surveys.
The representative explained that the organisation had established a task force, the Basarnas Search Group, whose members were capable of operating all elements of the new technology available to them.