The United States has approved the sale to Taiwan of the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) MQ-9B SeaGuardian medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
The SeaGuardian (pictured) is the maritime version of the SkyGuardian MALE UAV, and is equipped with a SeaVue radar, SAGE 750 ESM, and other systems pertinent to the over water mission. (GA-ASI)
The State Department approval announced on 3 November covers four “weapons ready” UAVs, and related equipment for an estimated USD600 million.
“This proposed sale will improve the recipient’s capability to meet current and future threats by providing timely intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), target acquisition, and counter-land, counter-sea, and anti-submarine strike capabilities for its security and defence,” the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) noted. “The capability is a deterrent to regional threats and will strengthen the recipient’s self-defense. The recipient will have no difficulty absorbing these systems into its armed forces.”
Besides the four air vehicles, specific mission equipment and other services requested by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO) includes two static ground control stations (GCSs), two mobile GCS; Wescam MX-20 electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) sensors, Raytheon SeaVue X-Band maritime radars, and Leonardo SAGE 750 electronic surveillance measures (ESM) systems. The US government will also provide contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services, as well as other related elements of logistical and programme support.
The DSCA delivered the required certification notifying the US Congress of this possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) on the same day as the approval announcement. Taiwan intends to use its own funds for this purchase.