Warplanes: The Secret Taiwan UAV Program

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August 7, 2014: Taiwan has been developing its own UAVs since the 1990s. With some help from the United States Taiwan began delivering modern models to the armed forces in 2011 (after a major boost in UAV funding in 2007). Taiwan has kept details secret although some information gets out when civilian versions of the military models are offered for export.

Taiwan is known to have several smaller UAVs, weighing under 20 kg (44 pounds). These are battery powered, have endurance of 60-90 minutes and an operator range of about ten kilometers. These are similar to the U.S. Raven and somewhat larger models that complement Raven (like Puma). There are also known to be larger UAVs, weighing up to several hundred kilograms (up to 500 pounds), with endurance of up to ten hours and payload of 50 kg (110 pounds). These are regularly use to patrol the Taiwan Strait and would be useful in wartime for spotting Chinese naval targets for Taiwanese anti-ship missiles. There is also at least one helicopter UAV (similar to the U.S. Navy Fire Scout) and a new one, still in development, that is similar to the U.S. Navy X-47B and able to carry over 500 kg (1,100 pounds) of weapons.

 

 


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