The domestically designed Teng Yun 2 drone passed development milestones over the weekend, flying for more than 10 hours straight and circling Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), in the longest flight of an indigenous uncrewed combat aerial vehicle.
Developed by the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology, the Teng Yun 2, or “Cloud Rider” (騰雲二型), recorded its longest flight yet over the weekend, after a three-hour test flight last month, followed by five and seven-hour stretches in the air.
The Teng Yun 2 No. 1812 departed from Chiashan Air Base in Hualien County at 6:46pm on Saturday and flew on a counter-clockwise route along the edge of the ADIZ, circling Taiwan proper, the institute said.
Screen grab from Flightradar24.com
At 5:02am the following morning, the drone landed safely at the base, after a flight time of 10 hours and 16 minutes, it said.
The Teng Yun 2 was designed to complement the military’s four US-made strategic drones, and has capabilities including day and night aerial image surveillance and reconnaissance, electronic parameter reconnaissance, electronic interference, meteorological observation and signal relay, it said.
The institute would complete testing of the drone by the end of the year, a source said yesterday, adding that it would start mass production if tests go smoothly.
Photo: Yu Tai-lang, Taipei Times
Defence International Magazine editor Chen Kuo-ming (陳國銘) praised the test results, but expressed concerns over lengthy procurement times for the drone’s engine, which is manufactured by the US.
Chen said that the military should seek backup suppliers in the EU to prevent a potential production bottleneck.
The issue might have been discussed at the Monterey Talks, which focused on Taiwan’s asymmetric combat capabilities, he said.
Meanwhile, Taiwan is expected to accept delivery of US-made MQ-9 Reaper drones later this year that the US in 2020 agreed to sell.
Lee Shih-chiang (李世強), head of the Ministry of National Defense’s Department of Strategic Planning, said during a question-and-answer session at the legislature in March last year that the Reaper would fit well with the military’s needs.
The Reaper is a high-altitude drone, whereas the Teng Yun 2 is a low to medium-altitude drone, he said.
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