Taiwan accelerates military drone production amid tensions with China
Part of the plan is to develop carrier-launched drones, land and aerial surveillance aircraft, and mini-drones with target-acquisition capabilities.
According to an expert at Taiwan's Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, Chi Li-ping, the enhancement and production of military drones in Taiwan in light of exacerbated tensions with China, will be accelerated with the aid of civilian companies.
Cited by the Military News Agency, Chi said, "In response to the existing enemy threat and using the experience of drones developed and deployed during the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, we will build up an asymmetric combat power consisting of drones ... The Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense is accelerating development and production of drones of various types,"
Part of the plan is to develop carrier-launched drones, land and aerial surveillance aircraft, and mini drones with target-acquisition capabilities, as confirmed by Taiwan's Central News Agency - with the first set expected to be done by August of this year.
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Chi noted that commercial drones are intended for military purposes, and to serve Taiwan's surveillance aircraft fleet, but added that it would take approximately a year to prepare a civilian drone for military missions, as opposed to the timeline of four to five years to build a military drone.
An eye for an eye, a drill for a drill
China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) held on January 8 military exercises in waters and airspace near Taiwan, in what the Island considers to be its "territorial waters," to test the combat effectiveness of Chinese troops, Shi Yi, spokesperson for the PLA Eastern Theater Command, said.
"On January 8, the PLA Eastern Theater Command organized joint combat patrols of various types and branches of troops and practical military exercises in the sea and airspace around the island of Taiwan," the spokesperson said in a statement posted on WeChat.
The drills were aimed to assess the troops' joint combat capabilities and resolutely counter the provocative actions of external and separatist forces supporting Taiwan's independence, the statement read.
Last year, tensions soared between China and Taiwan, reaching their highest in decades, due to a visit by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the island after Beijing warned both Washington and Taipei against such a trip.
Beijing regards Taiwan as its sovereign territory and promises that it will eventually be reintegrated with the mainland under the "one country, two systems" model. Taiwan has been governed independently since breaking away from mainland China in 1949.
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