TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan is building a fleet of suicide drones to strike targets in China in the event of an attack by the People's Liberation Army.
At the Taipei Aerospace and Defense Technology Exhibition held from Aug. 15 to 17, Taiwan's National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) unveiled the Chien Hsiang (劍翔) an anti-radiation loitering munition, along with its launcher. "Loitering munition" refers to a drone that can hover above the battlefield until it identifies a target, which it will then obliterate by smashing into it and detonating, sacrificing itself in the process.
The term "anti-radiation" refers to the drone's planned use as a weapon to attack early-warning radar and air-defense systems. The drone has been compared by industry analysts to the Harpy loitering system used by the Israel Aerospace Industries Malat UAV Division.
Chien Hsiang drone on display. (Wikimedia Commons photo)
Also on display at the expo was a modular trailer-based launcher, which can carry up to 12 drones at a time and unleash them en masse. Such trailers can be deployed across Taiwan proper or on outer islands such as Matsu or Kinmen, placing Chinese military installations well within their range, reported Jane's Information Group.
According to Alert 5, the Chien Hsiang weighs 6 kilograms and measures 1.2 meters long and 2 meters wide. The "air to ground strike assault UAV" searches for its prey with an electro-optical/infrared payload and identifies its target with an "intelligence object detection system," according to the site.
One of the main targets the missiles are designed to destroy is the S-400 missile system, which China is acquiring from Russia, reported CNA. The NCSIST says that mass production of the drones has begun, and it plans to produce 104 of them over the next six years.
Chien Hsiang drone in front of mobile launcher. (Wikimedia Commons photo)
Two Chien Hsiang drones in front of mobile launcher. (CNA photo)