US gives Taiwan twenty JUMP UAS to secure Taiwan Strait

In a press conference organized by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Legislator Chuang Jui-hsiung announced that Taiwan has received a JUMP 20 UAS from the United States without expense, along with the essential training required for its operation. This development, as reported in an article by Taiwan News on June 26, 2023, showing the collaborative efforts between the two nations to reinforce regional security in the Taiwan Strait.
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Aerovironment's JUMP 20 Unmanned Aircraft System at AUSA 2022. (Picture source: Aerovironment)

Taiwan acquired 4 MQ-9 SeaGuardian drones in May to monitor Beijing's increased military activities in the Taiwan Strait. The JUMP 20 drone, with its diverse capabilities and unique functions compared to larger UAVs, strengthens Taiwan's ability to effectively respond to evolving security challenges and maintain a strong defense posture in the region.

The Taiwan Strait, spanning approximately 180 kilometers (110 mi; 97 nmi), serves as a crucial link between the island of Taiwan and the Asian mainland. It plays a vital role in connecting the South China Sea with the East China Sea in the north, with its narrowest point measuring about 130 km (81 mi; 70 nmi) across.

However, the political characterization of the strait remains a contentious issue on the international stage. The People's Republic of China (PRC) claims complete sovereignty, jurisdiction, and sovereign rights over the Taiwan Strait, viewing it as an extension of its internal territorial waters rather than international waters. This perspective implies that foreign vessels navigating through the strait require approval from the Chinese government.

Various countries, including the United States, Australia, France, and Taiwan, strongly oppose this viewpoint and have expressed significant objections. This highlights the ongoing disagreements regarding the political and international status of the Taiwan Strait.

To acquire the JUMP 20 drone and the necessary training, the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) collaborated with the US military. This cooperative effort will significantly enhance Taiwan's maritime patrol capabilities, enabling effective addressing of various maritime issues such as smuggling, weapons proliferation, and illegal fishing.

The JUMP 20 VTOL UAV, an American drone, possesses the following specifications: a payload capacity of 30 lb (13.6 kg), an operating range of 185 km (115 mi), a flight duration of 9 to 14 hours, a maximum speed of 72 km/h, a flight ceiling of 4572 meters (17,000 ft), a wingspan of 18.8 ft (5.7 m), a length of 9.5 ft (2.9 m), and a maximum takeoff weight of 97.5 kg including fuel and payload.

The drone offers multiple payload options, including gyro-stabilized EO/IR imaging systems, communication intelligence (COMINT) capabilities, 3D mapping sensors, LiDAR, and synthetic aperture radar. It supports ISR operations, MUM-T interoperability, OSRVT downlink, and communication across various channels and bands.

Equipped with advanced imaging sensors like the ARCAM 45D and long-range EO/MWIR sensors, the JUMP 20 enables effective day and night operations. It incorporates onboard tracking and stabilization systems, facilitating real-time video processing for efficient data analysis and transmission. Additionally, the drone's compatibility with swappable imaging systems provides flexibility to adapt to different mission requirements.

Designed for runway-independent operations, the JUMP 20 can be made operational in under 60 minutes. Its common autopilot and ground control system architecture allow for customization and modularity, ensuring it meets specific operational needs.

Operated by two operators from a ground control station, the drone is powered by a MOGAS 190CC EFI four-stroke gasoline engine, complemented by four 190cc EFI electric motors for vertical takeoff and landing. Furthermore, it incorporates a battery-powered VTOL jump system, enhancing its overall performance.