BEIJING (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 07th February, 2023) Taiwan will accelerate the development and production of military drones with the help of civilian companies amid increased tensions with mainland China, Chi Li-ping, expert at the island's state-owned Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, said on Tuesday.
"In response to the existing enemy threat and using the experience of drones developed and deployed during the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, we will build up an asymmetric combat power consisting of drones ... The Taiwanese Ministry of National Defense is accelerating development and production of drones of various types," Chi, who heads the institute's aviation systems research department, was quoted as saying by the ministry's Military news Agency.
The institute is working closely with the private sector to develop carrier-launched drones, land-based and aerial surveillance aircraft, miniature drones, and those with target-acquisition capabilities, Taiwan's Central News Agency reported. First prototypes are expected by August.
Chi said commercial drones would be adapted for military purposes to speed up the build-out of Taiwan's surveillance aircraft fleet, according to the Military News Agency. It takes about a year to reequip a civilian drone for military surveillance missions versus four to five years needed to make a military drone.
Tensions between China and the island it claims as its territory spiraled last year following a flurry of trips to Taiwan by US and European officials. China has criticized the visits as a show of support for Taiwanese separatism and has been conducting daily flybys over the waters off the island.