Taiwan has signed a deal with the US to procure four MQ-9B SeaGuardian drones for 16.88 billion New Taiwan dollars ($555 million), Member of Parliament Wang Ting-yu revealed in a Facebook post.
The first of the General Atomics drones is expected to be delivered in 2025 and the last by 2029, Taiwan News wrote, adding that the contract includes ground control station-related equipment and support systems.
According to the outlet, the cost of the deal is expected to rise to 21.7 billion New Taiwan dollars ($700 million) due to additional infrastructure and training expenditures.
The reconnaissance drones will be based on Taiwan’s east coast at Hualien County.
To Deter ‘Regional Threat’
The development comes two years after the US State Department approved the potential sale to the self-ruled territory in 2020.
Announcing the decision, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency stated that the proposed sale would “improve the recipient’s capability to meet current and future threats by providing timely Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance, target acquisition, and counter-land, counter-sea, and anti-submarine strike capabilities for its security and defense.”
“The capability is a deterrent to regional threats and will strengthen the recipient’s self-defense. The recipient will have no difficulty absorbing these systems into its armed forces.”