Sea Guardian Drones to Taiwan for ISR

The U.S. State Department has approved a Foreign Military Sale to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO) of four (4) Weapons-Ready MQ-9B Remotely Piloted Aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of $600 million. The transaction involving four unmanned maritime patrol aircraft based on the MQ-9 Reaper platform is intended to meet current and future threats by providing timely intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), target acquisition, and counter-land, counter-sea, and anti-submarine strike capabilities for its security and defense. The capability is a deterrent to regional threats and will strengthen the recipient’s self-defense.

Artist’s concept of an MQ-9B-SeaGuardian. General Atomics Image

Artist’s concept of an MQ-9B-SeaGuardian. General Atomics Image

[Above: Artist’s concept of an MQ-9B-SeaGuardian. General Atomics Image]

According to experts, a group of four aircraft affords the capability to maintain constant airborne surveillance. A likely theater for this would be the Taiwan Strait, on the lookout for an amphibious invasion from China. The Beijing government has protested the sale.

TECRO requested to buy four (4) Weapons-Ready MQ-9B Remotely Piloted Aircraft; two (2) Fixed Ground Control Stations; two (2) Mobile Ground Control Stations; and fourteen (14) Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigations Systems (EGI) with Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) (12 installed, 2 spares). Also included are MX-20 Multi-Spectral Targeting Systems and spares; SeaVue Maritime Multi-Role Patrol Radars; SAGE 750 Electronic Surveillance Measures (ESM) Systems; C-Band Line-of-Sight (LOS) Ground Data Terminals; Ku-Band SATCOM GA-ASI Transportable Earth Stations (GATES); AN/DPX-7 IFF Transponders; Honeywell TPE-331-10GD Turboprop Engines; M6000 UHF/VHF Radios; KIV-77 Mode 5 IFF cryptographic appliques; AN/PYQ-10C Simple Key Loaders; secure communications, cryptographic and Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) equipment; initial spare and repair parts; hard points, power, and data connections for weapons integration; support and test equipment; publications and technical documentation; personnel training and training equipment; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support. .

According to the State Dept. statement, “The proposed sale serves U.S. national, economic, and security interests by supporting the recipient’s continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability, according to the State Department. The proposed sale will help improve the security of the recipient and assist in maintaining political stability, military balance, economic and progress in the region.

“The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.”

The principal contractor is General Atomic Aeronautical System, Inc., San Diego, CA.