Taiwan enhances air defense with anti-drone rifle deployment

On February 19, 2024, the armed forces of Taiwan completed the deployment of anti-drone systems, a move made amidst ongoing tensions with China, which regards Taipei as an integral and inalienable part of its territory. The Taiwanese military has finished distributing anti-drone guns to its troops to bolster defense against unmanned aerial vehicles.
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A Skynet anti-drone system previously purchased by Taiwan. (Picture source: Skynet)

The Taiwanese armed forces have successfully equipped their personnel with anti-drone rifles, a strategic response to the continued strain in relations with China, which claims Taipei as an essential and non-negotiable part of its domain.

According to a report by "Taiwan News," the Taiwanese military has received several anti-drone systems that will be used alongside light weapons. In 2022, the Ministry of Defense approved a budget of $146 million for the purchase of these defensive systems, intended to be deployed across 45 military bases on the island until 2026.

This initiative comes amid persistent tensions with China, aggravated by trade restrictions on high technology and critical minerals imposed by both countries in recent years. Despite repeated warnings from Chinese President Xi Jinping to his counterpart Joe Biden regarding military assistance to Taiwan, the United States has not ceased providing military aid to the island, including the latest package of $300 million approved by the Pentagon last December, aimed at maintaining the tactical information systems of the Taiwanese armed forces.

Following the approval of a budget bill by the Taiwanese government last August, planning for record defense spending of $19 billion for this year, the island has also undertaken to upgrade its equipment and expand its missile production. The local newspaper "Liberty Times" revealed that the government plans to build two new missile bases along the island's east coast by April 2026, with an investment of $55 million for storing anti-ship missiles.

In addition to military pressure, Taiwan faces increasing diplomatic pressure. Currently, only 12 countries officially recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state. The victory of Democrat Lai Ching-te in the presidential elections on January 13 was followed by the announcement from the government of Nauru on January 15 to transfer its diplomatic recognition to China, after 41 years of official relations with Taiwan, highlighting the intensification of the struggle for diplomatic influence in the region.