The Taiwanese government is a few steps away from establishing a fleet of 3,000 drones to counter a possible Chinese invasion.
A cross-agency task force to establish the fleet announced Saturday that it would soon select the lead manufacturer for the program.
Once the manufacturer is selected, a national unmanned aerial vehicle fleet will be established in the latter half of this year and become operational by year’s end.
The drones may not have complete military specifications but will provide necessary support during field operations, according to a report by Taipei Times.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs said nine defense companies had been reviewed for the program.
They are expected to submit drone prototypes for shipborne and land-based reconnaissance by July.
The vendors will also be tasked to develop prototypes of miniature drones, including those with target-acquisition capabilities.
The country’s Ministry of National Defense will select prototypes in August.
Strict Anti-China Rule
As the program progresses, Taipei has taken steps to ensure Chinese technologies will not be used in any of the drones it plans to acquire.
Before reviewing proposals, the task force required all interested parties to prove that they were not funded by China-based companies and sign a pledge against using products or components manufactured in China or by Chinese firms.
A non-disclosure agreement was also included.