Taiwan has 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. The total estimated program cost is $600 million.
This proposed sale will improve the recipient’s capability 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. The recipient will have no difficulty absorbing these systems into its armed forces.
Taiwan’s buying spree
In the last two week, the United States has approved the following possible FMS for Taiwan:
- 4 MQ-9B SeaGuardian
- Harpoon coastal defence systems (100 launchers and 400 missiles is significant)
- 11 HIMARS launchers with 64 ATACMS missiles
- 135 AGM-84H SLAM ER missiles.
The last two systems have very long range and capable of striking Chinese bases from Taiwan.
About General Atomics MQ-9B SeaGuardian
General Atomics has developed the maritime variant of MQ-9B, SeaGuardian, to perform over-the-horizon long-endurance, medium-altitude Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions.
Thanks to its internal and external payload, SeaGuardian can be configured for a vast range of naval and littoral surveillance operations, including:
- Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW)
- Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)
- Search and Rescue (SAR)
- Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR)
- Borders surveillance and Law Enforcement
With its full range of sensors, its high endurance (more than 25 hours on station) and its low operating costs, the SeaGuardian is marketed by GA-ASI as a complementary system for navies and air forces already operating maritime patrol aircraft. The RPAS could also seduce air forces currently developing their maritime surveillance capability from scratch. With a highly modular payload and a multi-mode EO/IR system, the SeaGuardian is also able to operate most of the ISR missions of the SkyGuardian. SeaGuardian is therefore suited to operate over the open ocean as well as in a littoral environment. A capability that is rapidly convincing many air forces and navies around the world.
For ASW missions, the SeaGuardian can carry two to four sonobuoys dispensers under its wings. The aircraft carrying a sonobuoy receiver and processor internally. According to GA-ASI, the SeaGuardian could be equipped with airborne counter mine capability in the near future, expanding the range of its missions.