Taiwan creates next-generation drones fearing war with China
The devices were developed amid rising tensions in political relations across the Taiwan Strait.
An invasion of the island of Taiwan by China has never looked closer.
In Beijing, Xi Jinping modernizes its Armed Forces. On the other side of the Pacific, Americans estimate that armed action could take place by 2025. And, amidst this growing tension, Taiwan is trying to protect itself.
On the 14th, the island presented a group of international journalists with new models of military drones, showing how they prepare their defenses in case they are invaded.
The plan is inspired by Ukraine’s success in using drones in attacks against Russia and relies on Taiwan’s cutting-edge experience in producing semiconductors to control these weapons.
The equipment was developed amid heightened tension in political relations across the Taiwan Strait in recent years and follows military investments across the Indo-Pacific region, including China.
The autonomous island of Taiwan’s effort to strengthen security began in 2019, with the presentation of guidelines by President Tsai Ing-wen after the Chinese government – which claims the island as part of its territory – proposed the “One country, two systems” model. “, used in Hong Kong and Macau, to integrate it into the People’s Republic of China. After the war in Ukraine, this effort has intensified, although experts consider that the risk of a conflict is not imminent.
Eight types of drones developed by the Chung-Shan National Institute of Science and Technology were introduced. Of these, five are models shown to the public for the first time.
According to the director of the Institute’s Aeronautical Systems Research Division, Eric Chi, the models have combat or surveillance functions and were designed for different areas of the Taiwan Armed Forces.
The island is expected to produce around 3,000 drones in partnership with companies next year and makes it clear that the production is “in response to new trends in global warfare”.
“Our military has been actively building asymmetric warfare capabilities (when one of the conflicting sides has clear military superiority),” Chi said, according to CNN.
The technical details of the drones were not revealed for security reasons, but the equipment was built with technology from Taiwan, which produces the most advanced semiconductors in the world. They are intended to make military forces more agile and difficult to attack.
Some of the displayed drones are capable of attacking other vehicles in the sky; others have surveillance capabilities to track warships, for example.
Those two characteristics are responses to tactics used last year by China, which sent drones to areas near the island and increased Navy activity in the Taiwan Strait after the visit of then-Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. The visit was seen by Beijing as a violation of the international “One China” policy.
For analyst David Sacks, from the American think tank Council on Foreign Relations, the development of drones plays a crucial role for Taiwan to become less dependent on the US in the military area, at a time when the American defense industry is overloaded because of the war in Ukraine.
“It’s very difficult for us (Americans) to provide Ukraine with what it needs, the US military with what it needs, and making sure Taiwan has what it needs,” he said.