Sun, Aug 11, 2019 - Page 3 News List

US lets advanced combat tech come to Taipei expo

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

The US government has approved an export license for an advanced targeting tool, used to identify targets and guide bombs, so that a live demonstration can be given at the Taipei Aerospace and Defense Technology Exhibition, a government source said yesterday.

The Ministry of National Defense had sent many requests to Washington for it to sell a state-of-the-art forward-looking infrared (FLIR) targeting pod — the FLIR Star SAFIRE 380-HD — but has been turned down every time, the source said on condition of anonymity.

The granting of the license by the US government came as a complete surprise, the source said, adding that targeting pod maker FLIR Systems is to stage a live demonstration at the Taipei Aerospace and Defense Technology Exhibition, which opens on Thursday.

The move by the US suggests it might be willing to sell Taiwan the targeting pods at some point, the source added.

Considered by experts to be the most advanced equipment of its kind, the pod is utilized by the US Navy on Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers and Independence-class littoral combat ships, the source said.

The US Coast Guard use the pod on long-range search aircraft, according to the source, as the pod’s thermal imaging enables weapons platforms to detect and engage targets day or night and in all weather conditions, also facilitating search and rescue missions.

The Coast Guard Administration utilizes several types of SeaFLIR III+ pods on 3,000-tonne and 1,000-tonne patrol vessels, a contractor, who asked to remain anonymous, said.

New 600-tonne, 1,000-tonne and 4,000-tonne vessels under construction are to be equipped with more advanced pods — the SeaFLIR 280-HD — that outperform those found on Republic of China Navy warships, the contractor said.

Meanwhile, defense expo organizers said that the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology is to display improved models of two uncrewed aerial vehicles: the Jiangshian anti-radiation drone and the Tengyun long-range armed drone.

The organizers added that a cooperative to test and evaluate the military’s indigenous aviation program is to be formally announced.

The cooperative is made up of 11 foundations and government groups that aim to secure international certification for Taiwan’s aerospace industry, they said.

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