TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The locally developed Teng Yun (騰雲) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) will start production in 2024, the Ministry of National Defense said Thursday (Nov. 19).
Extensive testing of the drones began earlier this month, with two of the aircraft being spotted at an Air Force base in Taitung County. The National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) will submit the project for evaluation sometime next year, and if the Air Force gives its approval, manufacturing will start in 2024, CNA reported.
The Teng Yun undertook its first flight in April 2018, but Vice Defense Minister Chang Che-ping (張哲平) denied allegations that there had been delays, emphasizing the project was going through the required process of testing and review. Optics and radar elements were also produced in Taiwan and still had to be integrated with the complete system, he said.
Chang rejected suspicions that the recent announcement by the State Department that the United States would sell four MQ-9B SeaGuardian drones to Taiwan for a total value of US$600 million (NT$17.11 billion) would hinder the development of the Teng Yun.
The military needs both, as the American UAV is a long-range reconnaissance aircraft, while the Teng Yun played a strategic role complementary with the MQ-9B, Chang told lawmakers.