Air Transport World

The mouse that roars: Indonesia. (Industri Pesawat Terban Nusantara as an international player in the aerospace industry) (Company Profile)

Can Industri Pesawat Terban Nusantara (IPTN) become a major player in the international aerospace industry? For that matter, can Indonesia, an archipelago with 180 million inhabitants, become Southeast Asia's next industrialized country? IPTN President B.J. Habibie believes so and is not shy about telling the aviation press corps of IPTN's and Indonesia's long-term potential. Habibie's latest project is a wholly IPTN-designed 50-seat aircraft dubbed the N-250, which he expects to roll out in 1994 and certify in 1996.

The high-performance, fly-by-wire N-250, which will be equipped with an all-glass cockpit, is quite a leap for Habibie and company. Since 1976, the year Habibie and a handful of engineers launched IPTN, the company has performed subcontract component work for a number of manufacturers, including Boeing and General Dynamics. It also has built a number of fixed and rotary-wing aircraft under license. But it never has designed and built an aircraft by itself. Allison's GMA-2100 engines and Dowty's 6-blade propellers will propel the N-250 to a 320-kt. cruise speed, IPTN claims. A decision on a fly-by-wire system was to have been made last month.

Habibie's challenge was considered, as we snaked our way through the crowded streets of Bandung to visit IPTN's mammoth facility that sits on 73 hectares (180.3 acres). In 1976, IPTN had only two hangars for assembling and a maintenance shop.

During a 2-hr. tour, ATW viewed a very large, modern facility with little activity, which seemed odd for a company that employs 15,600. …

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