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Taiwan Unveils New Combat Drones at Taipei Aerospace Expo 2023

Taiwan’s National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) unveiled the country’s new combat drones during the 2023 Taipei Aerospace and Defense Technology Exhibition (TADTE).

The state-owned armaments bureau used an entire pavilion to display at least 10 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) designed to counter increasing Chinese threats, according to a report by Taiwan News.

Among the drones exhibited were Taiwan’s Loitering Unmanned Aircraft Types I and II, which have similar concepts to AeroVironment’s Switchblade kamikaze drones.

The first variant, which can be launched by a single soldier, can execute precise beyond-visual-range strikes with the help of image tracking and pattern recognition.

The second has a more powerful warhead designed for saturation attacks on fixed and mobile targets. It reportedly requires a crew of three to operate.

Other Drones

Taiwan’s new Cardinal III and Teng Yun UAVs were also displayed during the TADTE 2023.

Featuring vertical takeoff and landing capability, the Cardinal III can be launched from small vessels to support coastal patrols.

The long-range Teng Yun drone is also designed to conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance day or night. It can fly up to 20 hours and has a maximum range of 1,100 kilometers (683 miles).

Additionally, the NCSIST has launched the Chien Hsiang anti-radiation loitering munition and a decoy unmanned aircraft, which work in tandem.

The decoy is primarily used to activate enemy radars, allowing the Chien Hsiang UAV to detect and destroy them with fire-and-forget technology.

Taiwan drone
Another loitering munition unveiled at the 2023 Taipei Aerospace and Defense Technology Exhibition. Photo: President Tsai Ing-Wen via Facebook

Mass Production

On the second day of the expo, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen said the country will mass produce drones to meet its growing defense needs.

Taipei has been under constant pressure from China, which views the self-ruled island as part of its territory that must be reunited with the mainland, by force if necessary.

Although no specific figures were disclosed, local outlets reported that the island nation will produce 104 Chien Hsiang loitering munitions by 2025.

Tsai also announced the production of UAVs for civilian use to “maximize production capacity and help to increase Taiwan’s drone research and development capabilities.”

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