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DEFENSE/Taiwan military to showcase new drone, rifle, exoskeleton suit at defense show

09/12/2023 11:09 AM
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Visitors are seen at the biennial Taiwan Aerospace & Defense Technology Expo in this undated photo. File photo courtesy of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council
Visitors are seen at the biennial Taiwan Aerospace & Defense Technology Expo in this undated photo. File photo courtesy of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council

Taipei, Sept. 12 (CNA) Taiwan's military is scheduled to showcase some of its latest domestically developed armaments and defense technology at the upcoming biennial Taipei Aerospace & Defense Technology Expo (TADTE), which is being held for the first time in four years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The defense ministry's Armament Bureau and its top research unit, the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST), will showcase its newly made loitering munition, or "suicide drone," similar to the U.S.-made AeroVironment Switchblade 300, an unnamed military source told CNA.

NSCIST's Aeronautical Systems Research Division head Chi Li-pin (齊立平) previously told reporters that the miniature loitering munition has a range of 10km, can fly for 15 minutes and can fit inside a rucksack.

The device, which has a high-performance electro-optical and infrared sensor, can be carried by a single soldier and can destroy high-value high-risk vehicles as well as target personnel, Chi said, adding "it is like a large grenade capable of flying."

Meanwhile, the source said the military will also unveil the latest version of its in-development locally-made powered exoskeleton suit, which is a mechanized wearable system designed to be used in wartime or during post-disaster rescue and relief missions, during the exhibition in Taipei that is set to run from Sept. 14-16.

The NCSIST previously said the 10kg lower-body exoskeleton, which is designed to boost the strength and endurance of its users, can move at 6kph.

The exoskeleton delivers the right torque at the right time to assist knee flexion and extension to reduce the energy wearers expend when crossing terrain, squatting, or kneeling, and to increase mobility and reduce fatigue, according to the NCSIST.

Sept. 14: Taiwan defense expo returns after 4-year hiatus; U.S. joins for first time

Sept. 13: Military shows attack drone, jet simulator at press preview of defense show

The Armament Bureau will also showcase a new assault rifle, the XT112, that is being developed by the military, the source added.

The new rifle, expected to be delivered to the armed forces in 2024, will be lighter and have a longer range, making it more effective in the context of modern urban warfare, the defense ministry previously said.

Taiwan's combat units are currently using T91 rifles produced by the 205th Armory of the Ministry of National Defense that have been in service for nearly 20 years.

T91 rifles are based on the T86 assault rifle, incorporating features from M16 and AR-18 rifles, but with modern features.

The nation's reserve units, meanwhile, use the older T65K2 rifles developed and manufactured by the Combined Logistics Command, and have been in service since the late 1970s.

CNA graphic Sept. 14, 2023
CNA graphic Sept. 14, 2023

According to the event organizers, this year's TADTE will be the largest show ever, with nearly 280 exhibitors participating, and all 970 exhibition booths occupied at the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center Hall 1.

The American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto U.S. embassy in the country, and the Czech-Taiwan Business Chamber have, respectively, also organized a USA Pavilion and Czech Pavilion for the three-day show, TADTE organizers said.

The last time TADTE was held was in 2019. The 2021 edition was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

(By Matt Yu and Joseph Yeh)


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