TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The National Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) has announced it will carry out drone flight tests off Taiwan’s east coast next week.
NCSIST said it will select five days in early November to conduct drone flight tests over an area spanning more than 250 kilometers, Liberty Times reported. According to the Council of Agriculture’s Fisheries Agency, the evaluations will involve live-fire drills in Taiwan's southeastern waters.
Military experts believe that based on existing information, it may be the final flight tests of the domestically produced Teng Yun unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). NCSIST has already developed and produced several UAVs, including the Cardinal for the Army and Marine Corps, and the Albatross for the Navy’s Naval Maritime Tactical Reconnaissance Group.
Taiwan has been building up its drone fleet as part of its effort to boost defense capabilities. The Cabinet recently proposed a sea and air combat enhancement plan and will invest NT$12 billion (US$430.60 million) between 2022-2025 to purchase Chien Hsiang anti-radiation drones.
Additionally, the U.S. agreed to sell four MQ-9B SeaGuardian drones last year. The Taiwan Army expects to allot a budget of NT$21.7 billion to purchase them.
The locally developed Teng Yun (騰雲) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) will start production in 2022, the Ministry of National Defense has previously said. According to NCSIST, the medium-sized drones are capable of real-time imaging and can perform surveillance missions day and night.