Taiwan reportedly unveils first domestically manufactured suicide drone

Source:  Sputniknews  15.3.2023


Taiwan's state-owned National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) unveiled on Tuesday nine drones of its own production, including a kamikaze drone similar to the US-made Switchblade 300 which it supplies to Ukraine, amid perceived China-related security concerns, Taiwanese media reported.


The institute presented the medium-sized Albatross drone, the small Cardinal drone, and the large Teng Yun drone in addition to several models of combat drones, Taiwan's news agency reported.


NCSIST's suicide drone inspired by the Switchblade 300 has a flight range of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), is so small as to fit inside a backpack and can stay in the air for over 15 minutes, the head of the institute's Aeronautical Systems Research Division, Chi Li-pin, said at the presentation, as cited in the report. He also noted that the drone, equipped with a highly sensitive electro-optical infrared sensor, could hit high-value vehicles and personnel without requiring more than one soldier to carry and use it.


"It's like a large grenade capable of flying," Chi said, as quoted by the CNA, adding that the institute intended to pursue the development of larger drones with a longer range.


In February, Chi said Taiwan was speeding up the development and production of drones for military purposes by engaging civilian companies amid growing insecurity globally and in the Taiwan Strait. He also said that Taiwan's drone program would take into account the experience of the use of drones during hostilities in Ukraine.


NCSIST was formerly part of the Armaments Bureau of the Taiwanese Defense Ministry, which is active in the development, production, support and maintenance of various weapons systems and dual-use technologies. In 2014, the institute became an administrative corporation reporting directly to the island's government, and it is now one of Taiwan's two main defense contractors. NCSIST develops, manufactures, and sells defense technology and weapons, and is also responsible for international technology cooperation and information exchange.