MND refutes report of UAV program difficulties

By Rich Chang

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday rebutted a media report saying the development of indigenously produced unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has encountered difficulties and that the military was considering suspending the program.

The ministry said in a statement that the UAVs, which are being developed by the Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, had undergone 506 test flights for a total of 375 flight hours, and that the tests had shown the UAVs meet combat requirements

The ministry added the institute had delivered all eight UAV systems with 32 vehicles.

The Chinese-language Next Magazine reported yesterday the army had started to test the UAVs last year, but on March 7 a UAV crashed in the sea off Taitung County, and three prototypes also suffered accidents.

The report added the military had reported the matter to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in April, and the military said that if future tests of the UAVs could not meet requirements, the army would consider suspending the program.

The ministry said yesterday the report was baseless.

After the crash in March, the army and the institute strengthened the UAVs flight control systems as well as the remote pilots’ expertise, the ministry said.