Taiwan’s military Drone Industry

Taiwan’s military Drone Industry

As tensions between Taiwan and mainland China continue to rise, the island’s defense ministry has unveiled ambitious plans to bolster its combat drone capabilities. However, observers warn that Taiwan is at least five years behind its mainland counterpart in utilizing this technology. The ministry’s strategy includes acquiring locally produced and US-made drones, as well as establishing a new training center for operators. Last March, the island’s defence ministry presented its plans, which included a mix of locally produced and US devices as well as a new training centre for operators, to Taiwan’s lawmakers. The ministry aims to acquire an initial 3,225 micro and small military drones from local suppliers by 2025, in addition to 96 mid-sized surveillance and reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) by 2028. The total cost of this endeavor is estimated at NT$6.6 billion (US$206 million).

 Seeking to apply the lessons from the war in Ukraine, the government of Taiwan has introduced a series of initiatives aimed at accelerating the production of drones for its military. Last year, the government launched a research and development cluster devoted to drones and initiated a competitive test and evaluation program for five categories of drones for the military. By marshaling Taiwan’s consumer drone producers and electronics enterprises to the interests of national defense, the government seeks to build a domestic supply base free of technology from China that can meet the needs of Taiwan’s military. The Taiwanese military will bolster its combat drone capabilities as part of its defence strategy, but observers warn that it needs to move quickly, with its mainland counterpart already far ahead in its use of the technology.

Read more on August 1, 2024