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DEFENSE/Suicide drones to be delivered to Taiwan 2024-2025: U.S. State Department

06/20/2024 02:32 PM
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Image from Wikimedia Commons
Image from Wikimedia Commons

Washington, June 19 (CNA) The Switchblade 300 loitering munitions and ALTIUS 600M-V unmanned aerial vehicles that Taiwan has ordered from the United States are scheduled for delivery between this year and 2025, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) indicated on Wednesday.

The DOS on Tuesday notified Congress of its approval of the possible Foreign Military Sales of up to 720 Switchblade 300 and up to 291 ALTIUS 600M-V to Taiwan.

The drones, estimated at a cost of US$300 million, and the anti-armor loitering missile system and related equipment, with an estimated cost of $60.2 million, will represent the 15th arms sale package to Taiwan during the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden.

In response to a query from CNA on the sales, the U.S. Bureau of Political-Military Affairs said in a written response Wednesday that "both sales are for delivery in 2024-2025," but it did not specify whether the full supply of 1,011 weapons systems will be delivered within that time frame.

U.S.-Taiwan Business Council President Rupert Hammond-Chambers told CNA, however, that he believed the delivery would be completed in the next 18 months.

"There is no industrial base issue with delivery in this timeline," he said in a written response to CNA. "That would have been a consideration for these programs."

A loitering munition is a drone designed to loiter around a target area and then attack it when spotted.

According to Taiwan's defense ministry, the loitering munitions supply to Taiwan can complement the various precision missiles the country already has and, coupled with domestically manufactured drones, will accelerate Taiwan's efforts to create a multi-layered deterrence system.

The U.S.' decision to supply the drones, which have reconnaissance and immediate strike capabilities, will help Taiwan respond more quickly to enemy threats, the ministry said.

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Sean Lin)

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