Taiwan military off-put by high price of MQ-8B autonomous helicopter

Taiwan military still exploring suitability of the autonomous helicopter

Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Fire Scout

Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Fire Scout (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan’s armed forces have reportedly cooled their interest in acquiring U.S.-made Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned autonomous helicopters in recent days, after learning of the list price.

An unnamed official told Liberty Times that Taiwan’s armed forces have asked for the list price of the helicopters, and the price given exceeded their initial expectations.

Head of the Ministry of National Defense’s (MND) Department of Strategic Planning Wu Pao-kun (吳寶琨) told the Legislative Yuan on Nov. 5 that the military is mulling over a potential purchase of a number of MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned autonomous helicopters and MK62 Quickstrike mines from the U.S.

The Taiwan Navy Command said today that deliberation of the potential acquisition is in its infancy, with careful evaluation to take place.

The MQ-8B Fire Scout is a naval-ship based autonomous helicopter which can be used to provide reconnaissance, aerial fire support, and precision target support. The helicopter can stay airborne for up to eight hours, reports suggest.

Wu told the Legislative Yuan the potential purchase will bolster Taiwan’s asymmetric warfare capability as part of the nation’s overall defense concept.