Taiwan has revealed its latest weapon, a 'suicide drone' capable of reaching the China mainland. The drone dubbed the Jian Hsiang, or Flying Sword was introduced at the Taipei Aerospace and Defense Technology Exhibition, a three-day event scheduled Thursday through Saturday in Taiwan’s World Trade Exhibition Center.

The designers claim that the drone can detect and lock on to radar signals and dive in a “suicide” like attack at ground stations and missile launchers. Eighty other military items made in Taiwan debuted at the exhibition.

The “elephant in the room” at the event is the growing military threat that China poses. The animosity between Communist China and democratic Taiwan has festered since the 1949 civil war when the remaining Republic of China (ROC) members fled to the island to escape the Communists. Taiwan is now aligned with the U.S. and has grown as an Asian economic player.

The Taiwan government wants more arms from the U.S. to counter China and the U.S. has obliged approving a $2.2 billion arms package that includes over 100 Abrams tanks and about 250 Stingers, missiles that are fired from a reusable shoulder launcher. China says it will put sanctions on the U.S. companies that make the equipment further deepening the trade war already in place.

Drone Military -- Pixabay
A military drone. By Skeeze, from Pixabay

In an address at the exposition, the director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), Brent Christensen who is also the United State's top representative to Taiwan expects this trend to continue. He said, “These investments by Taiwan are commendable, as is Taiwan’s ongoing commitment to increase the defense budget annually to ensure that its spending is sufficient to provide for its own self-defense needs. And we anticipate that these figures will continue to grow commensurate with the threats Taiwan faces.”

Other items introduced at the expo included:

  • The Cloud Leopard M2 armored personnel carrier
  • The latest version of the Teng Yun medium-altitude, a long-endurance surveillance drone
  • The Tien-Kung III surface-to-air missile
  • The Hsiung Feng III sea and mobile-launched supersonic missile
  • A scale model of Taiwan’s yet-to-be-named advanced jet trainer

According to the AIT, the first trainer jet is expected to join the air force by June 2020 with $68.6 billion budgeted for 66 additional jets to be added in about six years.