2019 Budget Request Envisions TENGYUN UAS and UCAVs
Details emerging from last week’s submission of the 2019 defence budget request to the Legislative Yuan (Taiwan’s single-chamber parliament) indicate apparent plans to use fleets of reconnaissance and armed drones to patrol the island nation’s coastlines, local press reports reveal.
MONCh understands the drones in question will probably be the TENGYUNG UAS, developed by the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST). The weapons, according to sources within the Ministry of Defence (MoD), are most likely to be anti-radiation missiles (ARM) under development in Project Jiansiang. TENGYUN drones, modelled very much in the PREDATOR mould, are fitted for four HELLFIRE-type air to surface munitions: using similar missiles and the ARM under development would enable the Taiwanese MoD to achieve its stated aim of annihilating invasion forces on the beaches, it has been suggested.
Other funding requests made in the budget submission include NT$31.6 billion (US£1.03 billion) for construction of 50t fast attack boats to strengthen the nation’s asymmetric defence capabilities. They form one pillar of the newly adopted strategy for opposing comprehensive Chinese capabilities: others include mobile air defence systems and modern anti-armour weapons, both of which are also the subjects of funding requests.