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Taiwan and France sign spy drone partnership deal

'CK50-T will 100% remove the red supply chain': GEOSAT Aerospace and Technology chair

Lo Cheng-fang (left), Francois Wu, and Fabrice Parodi at signing ceremony. (Facebook, Francois Wu photo)

Lo Cheng-fang (left), Francois Wu, and Fabrice Parodi at signing ceremony. (Facebook, Francois Wu photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwanese and French unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) manufacturers signed a cooperation agreement on an advanced surveillance drone in France on Sunday (April 23) that will avoid the red supply chain from China.

GEOSAT Aerospace and Technology Chairman and Asian Innovation Center Association Chairman Lo Cheng-fang (羅正方) announced in a Facebook post on Monday (April 24) that his firm had formally signed a contract for the joint development of long-endurance UAVs with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities with French drone maker Cavok UAS on Sunday. Lo signed the contract with Fabrice Parodi, CEO of Cavok UAS, at the Taipei representative office in Paris and the signing was witnessed by Taiwan’s representative Francois Wu (吳志中).

Lo mentioned that Taiwan's "UAV national team" is responding to national policies with concrete actions, and this first joint development project between Taiwan and France will "surely kick off the far-reaching development of the UAV industry in Taiwan and France." The joint product development method will also enable Taiwan's drone supply chain to connect to the international market faster, said Lo.

During his speech at the signing ceremony, Wu said that as the situation in the Taiwan Strait is facing the rising chance of the People's Liberation Army military invasion of Taiwan, the "Taiwan issue" continues to spread in France, and French public opinion strongly supports Taiwan, reported Liberty Times. The French government’s position of supporting stability and peace in the Taiwan Strait remains unchanged, said Wu.

Wu emphasized that as the chair of the French National Assembly's Taiwan friendship group, Eric Bothorel, and the French National Assembly delegation's arrival in Taiwan on April 17, the relationship between Taiwan and France has continued to strengthen. He argued that the new bilateral cooperation pact signed on Sunday is "more evidence that Taiwan and France have taken steps towards close cooperation in strategic industries."

In his post, Lo stated that the long-endurance IAV to be jointly developed between GEOSAT Aerospace and Technology and Cavok UAS is code-named "CK50-T" and will be used to strengthen land and sea intelligence search, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.

In terms of technical highlights, it is mainly a common platform with long endurance and automatic VTOL capabilities. Lo stressed that "what is more important is that CK50-T will 100% remove the red supply chain to align with the current consensus among free and democratic countries around the world on the development of the UAV strategic industry."