US approves sale of armed drones to Taiwan.

The US State Department approved the sale of four sophisticated armed drones to Taiwan on November 3, 2020. This is the latest approval in a series of arms transfer to the island nation.

Highlights

  • The US State Department approved $600 million sales of unmanned MQ-9 Reaper drones to Taiwan.
  • The drones would help in improving the defences of Taiwan.
  • It will bolstering  intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities of Taiwan.
  • The sale of the drones would further boost the Taiwan’s  efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability.
  • It would also assist the nation in maintaining political stability, military balance,  and progress there.
  • USA would be supplying four drones.

Significance

The drones would come with ground stations and associated surveillance and communications equipment. It is the first such sale after the Trump administration eased the US policy to restrict the export of drone technology.

China’s reaction

The sales have angered China because china considers Taiwan as a renegade province. China continuously threaten to bring the self-governing Taiwan under its control even if it has to force. On the other hand, Taiwan heavily rely on US for its security and US remains its main ally.

About MQ-9 Reaper drones

The drones have been made by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. The drones are sometimes called as Predator B. It is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which is capable of remotely controlled or autonomous flight operations.  The drone is the first hunter-killer UAV that have been designed for long-endurance and high-altitude surveillance. This drone has a 950-shaft-horsepower turboprop engine which allows the drone to carry 15 times more ordnance payload.