Taiwan to Receive Two MQ-9B SkyGuardian Drones in 2026

Two more drones will be handed over to Taiwan in the following year
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 03:40 AM, March 22, 2024
  • 860
Taiwan to Receive Two MQ-9B SkyGuardian Drones in 2026
MQ-9B SkyGuardian @GA-ASI

Taiwan will take delivery of the first two MQ-9B SkyGuardian drones from the United States in 2026, with two more scheduled for delivery in 2027.

Additionally, assurances have been given regarding the delivery of FIM-92 Stinger man-portable air-defense systems to Taiwan, with a target completion date of the following year.

A spokesperson from the U.S. Air Force confirmed in an email to the semi-official Central News Agency Taiwan's acquisition of four MQ-9B SkyGuardian drones, alongside two mobile ground control systems and related equipment, valued at $467 million. The deal, initially approved by Washington in November 2020, was contracted to General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. in May of the subsequent year, with completion slated for May the following year.

Recent attention to the four-year-old deal by the U.S. Department of Defense led to misconceptions in some media outlets, erroneously reporting an additional acquisition of four SkyGuardian drones. However, the original 2020 announcement by the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency outlined the intended functions of the drones, including intelligence gathering, surveillance, reconnaissance, and various defense capabilities to support Taiwan's security needs.

According to a notification forwarded from the department to the U.S. Congress, plans are underway to outfit drones with a maritime monitoring and positioning system. This has sparked speculation that Taipei may have acquired the SeaGuardian variant of the drone. Regardless of the model, experts highlight the MQ-9B's suitability for extended flights at high altitudes, enhancing Taiwan's surveillance capabilities while potentially reducing reliance on fighter aircraft during peacetime.

Meanwhile, assurances from the U.S. regarding the delivery of FIM-92 Stinger man-portable air-defense systems to Taiwan come amid concerns over delays. Efforts from Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense, including formal complaints and requests for project management changes, aim to expedite the delivery process.

Legislators have raised concerns about fluctuating delivery schedules for the Stinger missiles, fearing potential shifts in priorities due to global supply demands, notably in light of ongoing conflicts. However, with missile components already in production, authorities express confidence in meeting delivery deadlines, with regular meetings monitoring production progress and ensuring timely delivery of this crucial defense equipment.

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