Military denies that UAV program is a waste of money

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

Mon, Dec 23, 2013 - Page 3

The military yesterday denied a media report that said locally produced unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), part of a development program named Long March (長征), failed to meet combat requirements and that the military had decided to suspend the program.

The Chinese-language United Evening News reported that the military-run Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology this year completed a prototype of a Long March UAV, but because the air force required greater combat capabilities than the prototype delivered, the program was suspended.

The report said that the Long March UAV program was launched in 2009 with a budget of NT$3 billion (US$100 million), but the air force required a vehicle with a combat radius large enough to enable it to conduct surveillance operations around Chinese military airports along the coasts of Guangdong and Jiangxi provinces and the prototype could not match those requirements.

The report quoted Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) as saying that the military wasted NT$3 billion on a system that could not be produced.

Lin was quoted as asking why the air force made the requirement for the UAV, since the military’s US-established early-warning radar system was able to monitor movement along the Chinese coast.

In response, the military said there were breakthroughs in some key technologies, which would be helpful for the development of weapons programs.

No money was wasted on military technology research, it added.