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America Approves Suicide Drones Sale to Taiwan: Major Military Boost

America Approves Suicide Drones Sale to Taiwan: Major Military Boost


Armed Drones for Taiwan

The United States has paved the way for armed drones to be transferred to Taiwan as part of full strides in military cooperation between the two countries. Reports have emerged indicating that more than 1,000 armed drones are due for selling to Taiwan. It is regarded as a move that is strategically meant to enhance Taiwan’s defense capability as it comes under military squeeze from neighboring China.

Impact on Russia

The drones that spearheaded an attack and posed a great threat to Russia in the Ukraine war are now set to be delivered to Taiwan. Under this deal, the U.S. is set to provide Taiwan with 720 Switchblade drones worth $60 million including fire control systems. It also contains the sale of 291 Altius 600M loitering munitions together with supporting systems to Taiwan. This was announced through a statement by the U.S. Department of Defense.

China’s Opposition

China has been building military pressure on Taiwan over the past some time. Against this backdrop, the U.S. had decided to sell armed drones and other systems to Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act that permits the U.S. to equip Taiwan with necessary defense equipment. However, China had strongly opposed this step terming it a case of illegal arms sale by the U.S. and unauthorized discussions with Taiwanese authorities. Its discontent was also conveyed during the latest Shangri-La Dialogue as well.

Capacity/Operation of The Drones

The armed drones used in combat are called Switchblades and are built by the US company AeroVironment. There are several varieties in the Switchblade line, like the Switchblade 300 and 600. Every one of these drones represents a small, so-called loitering munitions that will hover in the air until a target is designated, then dive onto the target to carry out an attack. Known as suicide drones, they have the advantage of being portable—in fact, some can even be carried in a soldier’s backpack. They can also be launched from any terrain, like mountains, seas, and air. Deployed, their wings unfold, and operationally, they are just like drones, destroying military vehicles from 10 kilometers away. The Switchblade 300 drones can take only two minutes before launch is ready. Weighing about 2.5 kgs and measuring 24 inches in length, they can reach targets far away as 10 kilometers but only fly for 10 minutes below 500 feet.

The huge US-Taiwan arms deal could enhance Taiwan’s defense capabilities, heightening geopolitical tension in the region over China.

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