Taiwan’s defense budget draft for 2019 discloses the island nation’s plans to deploy combat-ready drones to protect its coastline. Tabled to the island’s Legislative Yuan last week, the budget details the prioritization of tactical reconnaissance and armed drones to deter enemy forces on beachheads and coastal areas.
The fleet of future drones will mostly be domestically-produced. They will include Tengyun long-range craft developed by the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology, as well as anti-radiation missile (ARM) drones being developed as part of Project Jiansiang, according to the ministry.
The Tengyun drones have four weapon mounts compatible with the US-made AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missiles. Such weapons are primarily used for precision strikes at targets within a range of 0.5 to eight kilometers. The new ARM drones can destroy an adversary’s radar systems, or the platforms on which they are installed.
It is believed that the Tengyun drones will be modeled after the General Atomics MQ-1 Predator remotely piloted aircraft once favored by the US Air Force and the CIA. (end of excerpt)
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