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Inspired by Ukraine, Taiwan reportedly developing sea drones

Attack sea drones can execute surprise attacks and counter threats while minimizing casualties

Unmanned surface vessel operating in water - 3D rendering. (Reuters, Alamy image)

Unmanned surface vessel operating in water - 3D rendering. (Reuters, Alamy image)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan is taking a cue from the Ukraine war and developing uncrewed surface vessels (USVs) to enhance its naval capabilities, with production of two prototypes expected to commence in 2026, reports have said.

Taiwan has seen how Ukraine has successfully used sea drones to target Russian warships and disrupt their naval operations since the outbreak of the war in 2022 and decided to follow suit.

Government officials said on Thursday (Nov. 2) that Taiwan will focus on the development of attack sea drones, which will serve the dual purpose of executing surprise attacks and countering threats while minimizing casualties. The integration of drones in aerial, terrestrial, above water, and underwater domains will unlock their potential for various tasks, including reconnaissance, offensive operations, mine clearance, and torpedo removal, wrote Liberty Times.

The National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) has already developed an uncrewed boat equipped with real-time video transmission capabilities and a suite of features such as radio frequency simulators, jamming simulation systems, flamethrowers, and radar signal reflectors. This vessel is suitable for use in live-fire training exercises, allowing for the simulation of diverse scenarios to evaluate weapon performance, per the NCSIST website.

The institute has said this platform can be seamlessly combined with "related USV projects to expand radar, weaponry, sonar, and other modules for tasks such as coastal defense, offensive operations, mine detection, and anti-submarine missions."

A budget of NT$812 million (US$25 million) has been allocated for the development of two attack sea drones of varying sizes and payloads. These USVs will have a remote control range of 70 kilometers, and their designs will prioritize stealth capabilities, maximizing their effectiveness in surprise attacks, Liberty Times cited military sources as saying.