• Directory of Taiwan

Experts highlight Taiwan's collaborative efforts in drone development

Huynh Tam Sang and Chen Kuan-ting say foreign cooperation bolsters Taiwan's asymmetric defense

Taiwan's Teng Yun UAV.

Taiwan's Teng Yun UAV. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan has been proactive in cooperating with other nations to ramp up the development and production of military drones, experts said in a National Interest article published on Sunday (Nov. 5).

Working with overseas firms in drone development is Taiwan’s primary goal in order to bolster ties with defense sector partners, Huynh Tam Sang, a Taiwan NextGen Foundation research fellow, and Chen Kuan-ting (陳冠廷), CEO of Taiwan NextGen Foundation, said. The U.S. and Israel have emerged as Taiwan’s principal drone partners, they said.

In April, Thunder Tiger Corporation, a Taiwanese UAV manufacturer, and IMSAR LLC, an American radar system developer, signed a drone development deal. In May, the U.S. Defense Department greenlit a US$217.6 million (NT$7.01 billion) arms sale of four General Atomics MQ-9B SeaGuardian drones to Taiwan, which will be delivered by 2025.

That same month, a 25-member delegation of U.S. defense contractors arrived in Taiwan to attend the Taiwan-U.S. Defense Business Forum, holding talks with local businesses and government officials regarding security cooperation.

GEOSAT Aerospace and Technology Inc. representatives have also met with U.S. defense contractors to explore joint drone development opportunities, Huynh and Chen said. They cited Chair Luo Cheng-fang (羅正方) as saying the company is eager to work with the U.S. to establish drone production lines in Taiwan. The company plans to partner with European manufacturing firms to replicate Chinese-made drones with comparable products made in Taiwan or its European partners, the experts said.

They pointed out that Israel is becoming a “promising drone partner” for Taiwan. Chen Guan-ru (陳冠如), Chair of Thunder Tiger Corporation, visited NextVision, an Israeli defense technology firm, in May. He later announced that Thunder Tiger would introduce Israeli UAV technology with help from the Taiwan External Trade Development Council.

The experts noted Taiwan has collaborated with multiple European countries, including France, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, and Poland, to develop and produce drones. In September, Taiwanese companies also joined forces with Japanese companies to design an anti-drone defensive system using passive detection and AI-based technologies.

They recommended Turkey and France as “ideal partners” for Taiwan to deepen collaboration in military drone technology with, given their “advanced technologies and extensive practical experience gained during the Ukraine war.”

The experts said Taiwan must prioritize cooperation with other nations to bolster its porcupine defense, making it “invulnerable to assault.”