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ANALYSIS/U.S. arms sales to boost Taiwan's asymmetric warfare capability: Experts

06/19/2024 07:28 PM
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A drone in the Altius 600M-V system. Image: Anduril Industries
A drone in the Altius 600M-V system. Image: Anduril Industries

Taipei, June 19 (CNA) The United States government's latest approval of potential arms sales to Taiwan could rapidly enhance the latter's asymmetric warfare capability, experts said Wednesday.

The US$360.2 million deal, including two types of suicide drones, will enable Taiwan to conduct more precise, real-time strikes with its ground forces, they said.

In a press release, the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said the latest package includes 720 Switchblade 300 (SB300) loitering munition systems and 291 Altius 600M-V systems.

It is the second time since President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) took office on May 20, that the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden has approved arms sales to the country.

Taiwan could benefit significantly from these weapons thanks to the U.S. military's combat experience and capabilities with drones, said Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲), a research fellow at Taiwan's Institute for National Defense and Security Research (INDSR).

In addition, Su highlighted the excellence of the SB300, noting that it can be carried by a single soldier and deployed in two minutes.

The SB300 can stay airborne for over 20 minutes and hit targets at least 20 kilometers away, including vehicles, personnel, and open-top landing boats, he said.

Shu Hsiao-huang (舒孝煌), another INDSR member, said the two loitering munition systems, designed to loiter around a target area and attack a target when spotted, could improve Taiwan's combat effectiveness.

Their independence from traditional command and control systems could also potentially enhance the overall capabilities of Taiwanese ground forces, Shu explained.

Congress has been notified of the sale, which will undergo a 30-day congressional review period, and if given the go-ahead, the U.S. government will send the foreign purchaser an official letter of offer and acceptance.

That will lead to a process culminating in the signing of a final contract and delivery terms. There was no indication Wednesday of how long that process could take.

(By Wu Shu-wei and Lee Hsin-Yin)

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