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Taiwan MQ-9B acquisition extended to 2027

Taiwan's four GA-ASI MQ-9B SeaGuardians will almost certainly be used to conduct extensive surveillance and reconnaissance over the Taiwan Strait and the Bashi Channel, while monitoring Chinese aircraft incursions into the ADIZ. This is a representative photo of the MQ-9B SeaGuardian. (General Atomics)

The US Department of Defense's (DoD's) award of a second contract to General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc (GA-ASI) to deliver four MQ-9B SeaGuardian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to Taiwan extends the procurement deadline to 2027 and increases the acquisition cost, it has been confirmed to Janes .

In this new and second “undefinitised” contract announced on 12 March the DoD disclosed a USD250 million sale of the four MQ-9B medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) UAVs to Taiwan, plus two ground control stations (GCSs) and support equipment. It followed a USD217.6 million contract awarded to GA-ASI on 1 May 2023 for the sale of the four MQ-9B UAVs, two GCSs, spares, and support equipment.

A spokesperson for the DoD's Department of the Air Force confirmed to Janes on 21 March that under these two contract announcements Taiwan will receive four SeaGuardians and that the total value of the contract combines the values of the two deals.

“The contract posted [on] 12 March 2024 and the contract from May 2023 are two distinct but related contracts for a total of four MQ-9Bs and two ground control stations worth a combined total of USD467 million,” the spokesperson said.

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