TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Ministry of National Defense (MND) spokesperson Shih Shun-wen (史順文) on Tuesday (Aug. 25) confirmed reports that Albatross drones will be stationed on Taiwan’s Dongsha Islands (東沙群島, Pratas Islands) and Taiping Island (太平島), saying the decision was made in accordance with the government's South China Sea policy and aims to improve the Coast Guard's defense capabilities on the islands.
Taiwanese media had previously reported that in response to increased tensions between the U.S. and China in the South China Sea, Taiwan’s military has recently dispatched its Albatross unmanned aerial vehicles so it could respond to unexpected situations more quickly and expand its reconnaissance capabilities around the Dongsha Islands and Taiping Island. Shun confirmed that the military was sending its domestically built drones to the area but warned the public not to overspeculate, CNA reported.
He said the military is following the proper protocol as laid out by the government's South China Sea policies and that the drones are meant to help the Coast Guard Administration maintain regional peace and stability as well as enhance the defense of the islands.
The drones are currently undergoing upgrades to improve mechanical stability and enhance flight safety.
Each Albatross drone has a 5.3-meter fuselage and 8.6-m wingspan. It can carry a payload of 55 kilograms and fly at an altitude of up to 4,000 m for a maximum of 12 hours.