Taiwan-developed military drone crashes into sea

05/21/2021 05:16 PM
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Photo courtesy of a private contributor
Photo courtesy of a private contributor

Taipei, May 21 (CNA) A locally developed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) crashed into the waters off southeastern Taiwan during a military mission Friday morning. There were no reports of injuries.

The UAV, a Rui Yuan (Sharp Hawk) drone being used by the Naval Maritime Tactical Reconnaissance Group, took off from a training field in Taimali in Taitung County at 7:27 a.m. to perform a scouting mission, Taiwan's Naval Fleet Command said in a statement.

Navy operators quickly noticed problems with the trajectory and movements of the drone and were forced to land it in waters off Taimali eight minutes after take-off to avoid civilian casualties on land, the statement said.

The Navy is now investigating the cause of the malfunction together with the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST), which developed and made the drone, the Naval Fleet Command said.

According to military sources, the crashed drone was first spotted by local fishermen about 12 nautical miles offshore, and they reported their sighting to the Coast Guard.

First commissioned in 2012, the Rui Yuans are mostly used in maritime surveillance and disaster relief missions.

Weighing 350 kilograms with an 8.6-meter wingspan, they have a maximum speed of 180 kilometers per hour, a maximum flying altitude of 4,000 meters, and the ability to stay in the air for up to 12 hours.

At least nine drones of the same model have crashed since 2012, according to information compiled by CNA.

(By Chung Yu-chen, Tyson Lu and Emerson Lim)

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