Taiwan looks to import ‘drone’ choppers, naval mines from US
Agile unmanned helicopters and powerful mines are all part of plans to fight a possible invasion by China
Taiwan’s military is allegedly hoping to purchase MQ-8 Fire Scout uncrewed helicopters and MK-62 Quickstrike mines from the US. But a source has told the island’s Central News Agency that the military is still evaluating the weapons and the US has not agreed to sell them yet.
A director with the Defense Ministry’s Department of Strategic Planning said the mines and unmanned helicopters were still on Taiwan’s wishlist, as they could fit perfectly into the asymmetric warfare tactics to prepare for a possible invasion by China.
The unmanned, autonomous MQ-8B Fire Scout, made by the Virginia-based Northrop Grumman, is designed to provide reconnaissance, situational awareness, aerial fire support and precision targeting support for ground, air and sea forces.
Taiwan is allegedly the first country to seek exports of these “drone helicopters”.
The MK-62 Quickstrike mines are air-dropped sea mines that are programmable and designed to be used against submarines and surface targets, like those from the People’s Liberation Army.
It is said that Taiwan may dispatch planes to lay these naval mines in its littoral waters close to Taipei, the Taoyuan International Airport, as well as a number of key ports and naval bases off the island’s west coast, in the event that hostilities break out between Taiwan and China and an amphibious invasion by the PLA is imminent.
Taiwanese officials and their US counterparts just met at the annual Taiwan Defense Industry Conference held in Maryland, where defense contractors from both sides submitted their recommendations for consideration by the Pentagon amid a review for future arms deals.
A rating and appraisal system of Taiwanese defense firms is also proposed for US industries to select partners for cooperative programs or setting up joint ventures, according to the Taipei Times.