The Taiwanese military has contracted a state-run weapons developer to produce 104 suicide drones by 2025, Focus Taiwan reported, citing the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST).

The drone’s production and delivery are on schedule, NCSIST official Chi Li-ping said without revealing complete details.

The NCSIST first displayed the Chien Hsiang anti-radiation drone in 2017, attracting comparisons with the Israel Aerospace Industries Harpy loitering munition.

$2.57 Billion in Drone Development 

Two years later, the Taiwanese air force’s air defense and missile command confirmed plans to invest $80 billion New Taiwan dollars ( $2.57 billion) into the drone’s production over five years.

The truck-launched drone is designed to detect airborne, waterborne, grounded radar, and electromagnetic systems through their emissions and strike. 

Aimed at China

The drone’s endurance of five hours and flight range of 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) enables it to target Chinese radar systems in the sea, on the coast, or inland, Focus Taiwan reported, citing the NCSIST’s Chi Li-ping.

The drone weighs 6 kilograms (13 pounds) and is 1.2 meters (4 feet) long and 2 meters (6.56 feet) wide. It searches for targets with an electro-optical/infrared payload and selects them through an “intelligence object detection system,” according to Alert 5.

The drone hovers over a target for hours until it is activated, swooping down at a speed of 600 kilometers (373 miles) per hour to crash into it, Focus Taiwan wrote.

Two Versions Being Developed

A total of 12 Chien Hsiangs can be launched from a truck simultaneously.

The NCSIST is developing two versions of the drone: one for attack and the other as a decoy to protect more valuable systems and installations from anti-radiation missiles and drones.

See also  US Army to Integrate Intelligence Platform on Next-Gen Squad Weapons