Learning From Ukraine, Taiwan Shows off Its Drones as Key to 'Asymmetric Warfare'

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At the Taipei Aerospace & Defense Technology Exhibition, the island's biggest arms show, state-owned Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) displayed a new drone it said could stay in the air for up to 40 hours.Taiwan showcased new models of its domestically produced military drones on Tuesday at the Taipei Aerospace & Defense Technology Exhibition, which is the island's biggest arms show. The state-owned Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC) displayed a new drone it said could stay in the air for up to 40 hours. This is key to Taiwan's "asymmetric warfare" capacity to make its forces more agile if they have to face a far larger Chinese military.

Despite Taiwan's objections, China, which has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control, has ramped up military activity near the democratically governed island to force it to accept Chinese sovereignty.

A new urgency has been lent to Taiwan military's efforts to bolster defence including a push to develop drones due to the war in Ukraine.

The military-owned National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) showed off its drone capabilities with its latest models, including the Albatross II surveillance drone, and combat drones that operate with global positioning system satellites.

"The war in Ukraine has really focused attention on drones and their capabilities," said Art Chang, head of NCSIST. "We've teamed up with some Taiwanese companies to build a 'national team' to develop military drones."

The military in Taiwan has said that it will be working with different companies in order to produce 3,000 drones next year.

"The armed forces should increase their adoption of drones in their strategies," said Chi Li-Pin, director of Aeronautical Systems Research Division for NCSIST.

"I hope our national troops can familiarize themselves with this weapon of asymmetric warfare and use them boldly," he told reporters at an NCSIST facility in the central city of Taichung.

President Tsai Ing-wen has championed the idea of "asymmetric warfare" to make Taiwan's forces more mobile and harder to attack. This type of warfare focuses on using speed and agility to offset a enemy's strengths.

Although Taiwan's armed forces are well-equipped, they are still dwarfed by China's.

Among the drones on display was an attack drone with loitering munitions. This drone can cruise towards a target before plummeting at velocity and detonating on impact.

According to the island's defence ministry, China has sent its drones to areas close to Taiwan to test its responses.

A civilian drone was shot down by Taiwan last year near an islet off the Chinese coast.

"China is quickly building up its combat capacity with drones, including swarms of flying robots," the island's defence ministry said in a report to parliament this week, according to Reuters.

The ministry said that in response, Taiwan will focus on developing its combat and surveillance drones, as well as anti-drone systems.

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