Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo officially named the locally developed N-219 twin turboprop aircraft during a ceremony in Jakarta on Friday (10/11).
The aircraft, jointly developed by Dirgantara Indonesia and the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (Lapan), will be known as Nurtanio, in recognition of aerospace pioneer Air Rear Adm. Nurtanio Pringgoadisuryo.
The Indonesian Air Force used the rank air admiral until the late 1960s, before changing it to air marshal.
The president expressed hope that Nurtanio's spirit would continue to inspire the Indonesian aerospace industry.
"There is a quote from Nurtanio: 'Never mind, let's not make a fuss. What matters is work,'" Jokowi said during the event.
"And [the aircraft] is the result of tireless work by Nurtanio's successors, which we will pass on to the next generation," he added.
Nurtanio established a simple workshop for aerospace research and manufacturing under the auspices of the Indonesian Air Force in 1946. There, he developed the country's first anti-insurgency fighter aircraft, the Sikumbang, in 1955. The center became a state-owned company, Nusantara Aircraft Industry (IPTN), in 1976 and it was later revived as Dirgantara Indonesia.
Nurtanio also developed several other aircraft before he died in a crash while on a test flight of a modified Czechoslovakia-made Aero 45 on March 21, 1966.
"His whole life was devoted to Indonesian aerospace," Jokowi said.
IPTN successfully developed two turboprop regional commuter aircraft, the CN-235 and CN-250, before the 1997 Asian financial crisis forced it to a halt.
The N-219 Nurtanio is the first aircraft Dirgantara Indonesia developed from scratch since the company's revival in 2000.
It was designed to transport up to 19 passengers, or cargo, in Indonesia's remote areas.
The aircraft completed its maiden flight in August, but still needs to pass about 300 hours of flight tests before it can obtain a type certificate, issued by the Ministry of Transportation to signify airworthiness of the manufacturing design.
Dirgantara Indonesia plans to start mass production of the N-219 Nurtanio in 2019. The aircraft are estimated to sell for around Rp 80 billion ($6 million).
Lapan head Thomas Djamaluddin said the agency and Dirgantara Indonesia have laid out plans to also develop N-245 and N-270 regional commuter aircraft, which will have carrying capacities of 50 and 70 passengers, respectively.
He said development of the N-245, which is and upgrade of the CN-235 military aircraft for civilian use, would commence after the N-219 Nurtanio enters commercial service.