Taiwan's heavy drones for surveillance still in pilot project phase

Taiwan military updates progress developments of heavy UAVs for surveillance.

Taiwan's CIST showcases the Tengyun Drone at an oversea show. (By Wikimedia Commons)

Taipei (Taiwan News)Military officials announced Tengyun (騰雲機), a heavy drone designed for surveillance purposes, developed by Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology's (CIST) was still in the pilot project phase, and was uncertain of the date of for the project's completion.

Tengyun is installed with an electronic interference system developed by CIST that upgrades the drone's military strategic value from surveillance equipment to a multi-functional jamming device, capable of interfering enemies’ electronic surveillance systems. Additional features can be built in the future-proofed drone.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have become pivotal in Taiwan’s military expansion strategy, and the nation's marines and Army's Airborne Operation Special Force (AOSF) are already using Cardinal mini-UAVs developed by CIST.

Moreover, AOSF is using CIST's mid-sized falcon (銳鳶) UAVs , and there are rumors that the special force has established a strategic “UAV surveillance brigade.”

The UAV surveillance brigade is rumored to comprise 12 to 20 UAVs, but military personnel have denied any concrete plans yet, since Tengyun is still in the R&D phase, and just recently entered the air force’s pilot testing phase.

If all goes as planned, the CIST drones will be available for military purchases within four years, but the military has not decided the number of drones assigned to each brigade.

CIST's heavy and mid-sized drones can be controlled on ground, and are suitable for daytime and nighttime surveillance, battle field management and evaluations, and communications during military missions.

Meanwhile, civilian applications of the drones include monitoring national properties, surveillance of disaster sites, and coastal patrol.