Taiwan showcases its suicide drone designed to kill enemy radars

The anti-radiation loitering munition Chien Hsiang is designed to take out enemy radars positioned at sea or on land.
Loukia Papadopoulos
Launcher of Chien hsiang loitering munition.
Launcher of Chien hsiang loitering munition.

Wikimedia Commons 

On Tuesday, Taiwan hosted an exhibition to show off its locally developed drone arsenal, according to a report from The War Zone. Most notably, it showcased the vehicle-launched Chien Hsiang loitering munition and the Teng Yun reconnaissance drone that is similar to the MQ-9 Reaper. 

Hosted by the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology

The drone exhibition event was hosted by the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST), a Taiwanese government-owned military technology manufacturer. The event provided a rare look at the truck-launched Chien Hsiang, an anti-radiation loitering munition designed to take out enemy radars positioned at sea or on land. 

Chien Hsiang also has the capacity to strike other unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), although NCSIST failed to provide specifics on how exactly it does that.

At a press briefing held at the event and reported by Taiwan government-owned news outlet Focus Taiwan, Chi Li-ping, head of the NCSIST's Aeronautical Systems Research Division, said that Chien Hsiang has a maximum flight time of five hours and can strike targets of approximately 621 miles away (1,000 km). 

The outlet further noted that if the drone were to lose its signal while on the way to a target, it could simply stay in the vicinity of the target until it radiated again in order to complete the strike. The attack would be carried out by Chien Hsiang by crashing into the target at 372 mph (600 km/h). Chien Hsiang can also serve as a decoy as it has the capacity to be equipped with an electronic warfare package for stand-in jamming of enemy emitters. We got our first look at Chien Hsiang back in 2017 at the Taipei Aerospace & Defense Technology Exhibition. It was then unveiled at the same event in 2019, where it was equipped with 12 canisters, each loaded with one of the loitering munitions. Chi, at the time, said that all 12 Chien Hsiang drones could be launched at once. 

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Production and delivery of 104 Chien Hsiang munitions are expected to be completed by 2025, as agreed upon with NCSIST. No information, however, has been provided on how many of these bad boys the Taiwanese nation has ordered.

The Teng Yu drone

Also set to be launched soon is NCSIST's Teng Yun drone. It is currently slated to enter mass production once it passes a combat readiness evaluation next year, said Chi. The executive did not specify whether he was referring to Teng Yu or Teng Yun 2, but it is safe to assume it is likely the latter as it is a more advanced model.

In the meantime, the Republic of China Armed Forces seems to be preparing for the arrival of these new drones, having allegedly recruited 115 drone operators to make up for insufficient manpower in this area. Focus Taiwan reported that new operators were trained by the NCSIST and tested by the Taiwanese Civil Aeronautics Administration. 

The developments all indicate Taiwan's deep desire to compete in the unmanned space. Are these drones enough to give them a spot amongst the best drone producers?

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