TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan showcased its Chien Hsiang (劍翔) "suicide drones" last week and announced plans to produce 104 of the loitering munitions by 2025.
At a press conference on Tuesday (Nov. 15), Chi Li-ping (齊立平), head of the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology's (NCSIST) Aeronautical Systems Research Division, said that the Chien Hsiang anti-radiation drone has a range of as far as 1,000 kilometers and reach a speed of 500 to 600 kph when in the dive phase toward a target.
The Chien Hsiang was developed by the NCSIST and made its debut at the 2019 Taipei and Aerospace and Defense Technology Exhibition in 2019. The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) comes in two variants: an antiradiation weapon and a "decoy."
The former is designed to engage enemy missile positions and radar stations. The latter is meant to activate and lure enemy radar. A total of 104 are to be produced by 2025, reported CNA.
During the press conference, Chi said the main task of anti-radiation drones is to detect enemy radar signals and attack their source. Chi added that the drones can stay aloft for five hours.
Chi said the Chien Hsiang can effectively suppress various radar systems operated by People's Liberation Army along the coast, inland or at sea. According to Chi, the current progress with mass production and delivery of the weapon system is going as scheduled.
NCSIST staff were cited by the news agency as saying that the Chien Hsiang is small in size, highly maneuverable, can stay aloft for long periods of time, and does not need a runway. Each drone is loaded into a separate compartment in a launch vehicle which can carry 12 of the unmanned attack aircraft.
The deployment, launch, and handling of vehicles can all be completed in a short period of time, improving operational flexibility and weapon system survivability, according to the NCSIST representative.
U.S. Switchblade drones and the Iranian Shahed 136 have recently gained a great deal of media attention as they have been used extensively in Ukraine to tremendous effect, with the Chien Hsiang resembling the latter.