The indigenous Teng Yun 2 drone showed medium and long-range flight capability, as well as guidance control over a long range, breaking an important technological barrier on its way to entering military service after its first flight over open seas, the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) reported yesterday.
The second prototype of the tactical reconnaissance and combat drone this month conducted a series of test flights from the Chiashan Air Force Base in Hualien County.
Developed by the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology, the Teng Yun 2, or “Cloud Rider” (騰雲二型), is a tactical uncrewed combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) designed to complement the four MQ-9B strategic drones that Taiwan’s military acquired from the US.
Photo: Yu Tai-lang, Taipei Times
The flight clearly showed the trajectory of the UCAV over nearly three hours, it said.
UCAVs have been receiving increased attention for their role in the Russia-Ukraine war, as their reconnaissance and combat abilities have granted Ukraine’s military an unforeseen advantage.
The institute has created four Teng Yun drones, two of which were developed in 2016.
Research began in 2018 on a prototype for an updated craft, which uses engines purchased from the US.
After one of the first-generation drones on Feb. 18 crash-landed in Taitung Forest Park, testing was moved to the more secure Chiashan Base for security reasons.
Defense International magazine news editor Chen Kuo-ming (陳國銘) said that due to safety reasons and limited capabilities, test flights over the ocean were previously conducted near the coast.
Testing a drone further out to sea is extremely risky, especially for as long as three hours, Chen said, adding that all communications systems must work flawlessly.
In addition to range, the institute was also testing a wide and complex array of optical sensors, radar and other systems, he said.
Hopefully, all of the technological barriers would be broken so the drone could enter service as soon as possible, he said.
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