Tue, Aug 29, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Army to transfer drones and equipment to navy

ON HOLD:The army purchased 32 Juiyuan drones, but several have been destroyed in accidents caused by human error due to a lack of training standards

By Lo Tien-pin and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The army on Friday is to transfer its entire fleet of Juiyuan medium-sized drones, related personnel and equipment to the navy, a Ministry of National Defense source said on Sunday.

The handover is attributed to the military’s “strategic readjustment” and the drones are to be deployed for maritime tactical reconnaissance and monitoring of ships Taiwan’s territorial waters, the official said on condition of anonymity.

Since their procurement in 2011, Juiyuan drones have been deployed by the Tactical Reconnaissance Group, Army Aviation and Special Forces Command.

The Tactical Reconnaissance Group is to be renamed the Maritime Tactical Reconnaissance Group, Navy Fleet Command, with its headquarters relocating from Taitung to Pingtung, the official said.

However, the decision to transfer the drones could conflict with the coast guard’s potential plans to acquire rotary-wing drones, as the two drone types have overlapping capabilities, the official said.

The government will decide how to reconcile the situation, the official added.

Medium-sized drones are uniquely suited for the detection, identification and tracking of targets in the seas near Taiwan, roles that the military has envisioned for the Juiyuan project since its inception, the official said.

The navy is slated to take over the operation of the drones to augment its ability to monitor Taiwan’s maritime environment, the official said.

The army purchased 32 Juiyuan drones, but several have been lost to accidents, the official said.

Although the accidents raised concerns over their reliability, investigations conducted by the military and the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology revealed human error was the main cause of the accidents, the official said.

Changes in training standards has addressed the concerns, the official said.

The Chungshan Institute is the designer and manufacturer of all drones used by the Republic of China military.

The Army Aviation and Special Forces Command and the marine corps uses Hungchueh hand-held drones.

Meanwhile, the institute is close to delivering its Tengyun large-sized drones to the air force, designed as multi-purpose craft capable of reconnaissance, ground attack and transporting humanitarian aid materials.

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