(Reuters) – Taiwan showed off new models of its locally produced military drones on Tuesday, saying they are essential to its “asymmetric warfare” capability to make its forces more agile if they have to face a much larger Chinese army.
China, which has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control, has stepped up military activity near the democratically governed island to force it to accept Chinese sovereignty, despite Taiwan’s objections.
The war in Ukraine has given new urgency to Taiwan’s military efforts to bolster defense, including the development of drones.
In a rare display of its drone capabilities, the military-owned National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) showed off its latest models, including the Albatross II surveillance drone and combat drones that operate with global positioning system satellites.
NCSIST head Art Chang said that the war in Ukraine has focused attention on drones, and his institution has teamed up with Taiwanese companies to form a “national team” to develop military drones.
Taiwan’s military has announced a partnership with companies aimed at producing 3,000 drones next year.
Chi Li-Pin, director of NCSIST’s Aeronautical Systems Research Division, said the military should increase the adoption of drones in its strategies.
President Tsai Ing-wen has advocated the idea of “asymmetric warfare” to make Taiwan’s forces more mobile and harder to attack.
China has been sending its drones to areas near Taiwan to test its responses, the island’s Defense Ministry said.