Poway’s General Atomics Aeronautical Systems will receive up to $217.6 million to build four MQ-9B SkyGuardian unmanned aerial vehicles for Taiwan, which it will use to monitor possible Chinese aggression.
Funding comes from the Pentagon, which says it will sell drones to Taiwan primarily to help it maintain its status as an autonomous state. This has infuriated China, which claims to have jurisdiction over Taiwan and its 24 million people.
For the record:
May 8, 2023 at 7:07 PMA previous version of this article said the drone would cost $216.6 million, the correct number is $217.6 million.
Earlier this year, China’s military simulated a large-scale attack on Taiwan in an attempt to pressure Taiwan not to cooperate further with its longtime ally the United States.President Joe Biden said Taiwan will remain free. and vowed to protect Taiwan from Chinese aggression. The United States also wants to prevent China from interfering with commercial trade and traffic in the Taiwan Strait.
San Diego-based Navy warships have sailed the Channel in recent years as part of a larger U.S. effort to affirm the right of all nations to operate in these waters.
The drone Taiwan receives from General Atomics is one of the most sophisticated remotely operated vehicles the company has developed. Airplanes are routinely used for long-term intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. It can also be configured for electronic warfare, anti-surface warfare, and search and rescue operations.