Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Taiwanese Air Force turns to indigenous UAVs

With Taiwan unlikely to request drones from the US, the logical alternative is to turn to the Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, which has been working on unmanned aerial vehicles for more than a decade

A Ministry of National Defense (MND) spokesman yesterday confirmed that Taiwan was developing an unmanned surveillance aircraft, a move that provides further confirmation of a continuing arms race despite closer political and economic ties with China.

Ministry spokesman Major General Yu Sy-tue (虞思祖) said the Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST, 中山科學研究院), which falls under the ministry’s Armaments Bureau, had initiated research on drones.

According to defense analysts, research on indigenous reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) has been going on for at least a decade. The institute unveiled a number of UAVs in August last year — including an operational version of the Chung Shyang (中翔) — during the Taipei Aerospace and Defense Technology Exhibition and Conference in Taipei.

A CSIST representative told Defense News at the time that the first Chung Shyang was built in 2007, with five prototypes already operational.

Asked by the Taipei Times whether the air force was seeking to obtain the Chung Shyang, which appears to be the institute’s most advanced prototype, a ministry spokesman said that “new models” were still in the research and development phase, without elaborating.

This story, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

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