The US Air Force has ordered four MQ-9B SkyGuardian drones from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems for Taiwan's armed forces, as the country continues to prepare for potential military aggression from China. The deal includes two ground control stations, spare parts, and other support equipment, with a ceiling value of $217.6 million. The drones are designed to provide intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance support, with the ability to fly over the horizon via satellite for over 40 hours, as well as supporting electronic warfare and anti-submarine missions. The sale was approved in 2020 to improve Taiwan's self-defense capabilities.
The US Air Force has ordered four MQ-9B SkyGuardian drones from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems for the armed forces of Taiwan. This comes as the island nation continues to prepare for a potential Chinese invasion. The contract announcement states that the company will also supply Taipei with two ground control stations, spare parts, and other support equipment. The agreement has a ceiling value of $217.6 million, and work for the contract will be carried out in California and is scheduled for completion in 2025.
Taiwan To Receive MQ-9B Skyguardian Drones Following US Order
The MQ-9B SkyGuardian drone is designed to deliver persistent intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance for the armed forces. It can fly over the horizon via satellite for more than 40 hours, even in adverse weather conditions. The unmanned system can also be configured to support electronic warfare, airborne early warning, and anti-submarine warfare missions. The original approved foreign military sale included the L3 Wescam MX-20 multi-spectral targeting system, Raytheon’s SeaVue maritime multi-role patrol radar, and Leonardo’s Sage 750 electronic surveillance measures system.
Washington’s procurement of four SkyGuardians for Taiwan is seen as an effective way to monitor Beijing, which has ramped up military activities near the self-governing island nation. The US State Department approved the foreign military sale in 2020, but the estimated cost was $600 million. “This proposed sale will improve the recipient’s capability to meet current and future threats by providing timely intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, target acquisition, and counter-land, counter-sea, and anti-submarine strike capabilities for its security and defense,” the US State Department said in 2020. “The capability is a deterrent to regional threats and will strengthen the recipient’s self-defense.”
The MQ-9B SkyGuardian is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. It is a medium-altitude, long-endurance drone that can fly for over 40 hours at altitudes of up to 40,000 feet. The drone is capable of conducting various missions, including intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), electronic warfare, airborne early warning, and anti-submarine warfare. It can also carry a variety of weapons systems. The MQ-9B SkyGuardian is currently used by the US Air Force and has been ordered by several other countries for their military operations.
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