TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An indigenous unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) crash-landed in Taitung Forest Park on Thursday night (Feb. 18) at around 6:33 p.m.
Eyewitnesses spotted the drone flying at a low altitude over Flowing Lake before it crashed, smashing into several trees and breaking into pieces, CNA reported. No injuries were reported in the incident.
Firefighters rushed to the scene after receiving calls from eyewitnesses, although the rubble did not catch fire. After determining it was a drone, military personnel were notified.
The National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) later issued a statement saying the crashed UAV was a Teng Yun drone that took off from Taitung Chihhang Air Force Base. The afternoon flight was described as a routine training mission that was forced to make a crash landing after a control system malfunction.
Preliminary investigations determined the Teng Yun drone crashed while preparing to return to the air force base. NCSIST personnel are now analyzing the flight data to determine the cause of the crash.
According to the NCSIST, the UAV was a Teng Yun drone prototype used for test flights and personnel training. The institute stressed the crash will not affect drone development.
The medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) Teng Yun drone was first developed in 2015 by NCSIST, with a larger upgraded version — similar to a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone — released in 2019. The drones entered the extensive testing phase in early October of last year.
The Teng Yun is capable of real-time imaging, automatic take-off and landing, multi-vehicle control, and ground network control. It can conduct both daytime and nighttime surveillance and reconnaissance missions, and can be outfitted with missiles for combat missions. It is expected to enter into production by 2024.
Teng Yun drone crash site (CNA photo)
First generation Teng Yun drone (CNA photo)