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US agrees the sale of four Weapons-Ready MQ-9B Remotely Piloted Aircraft to Taiwan.

| 2020

According to information published by the U.S. Department of Defense on November 3, 20200, the U.S. State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO) of four (4) Weapons-Ready MQ-9B Remotely Piloted Aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of $600 million. 
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 MQ-9B SeaGuardian in a live demonstration in Japan. (Picture source GA-ASI)

According to our information, the MQ-9B  requested by Taiwan is the SeaGuardian, a maritime variant of the MQ-9B Remotely Piloted Aircraft manufactured by the American Company GA-ASI (General Atomics Aeronautical Systems).

TECRO (Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States) has requested to buy four (4) Weapons-Ready MQ-9B Remotely Piloted Aircraft; two (2) Fixed Ground Control Stations; two (2) Mobile Ground Control Stations; and fourteen (14) Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigations Systems (EGI) with Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) (12 installed, 2 spares).

Also included are MX-20 Multi-Spectral Targeting Systems and spares; SeaVue Maritime Multi-Role Patrol Radars; SAGE 750 Electronic Surveillance Measures (ESM) Systems; C-Band Line-of-Sight (LOS) Ground Data Terminals; Ku-Band SATCOM GA-ASI Transportable Earth Stations (GATES); AN/DPX-7 IFF Transponders; Honeywell TPE-331-10GD Turboprop Engines; M6000 UHF/VHF Radios; KIV-77 Mode 5 IFF cryptographic appliques; AN/PYQ-10C Simple Key Loaders; secure communications, cryptographic and Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) equipment; initial spare and repair parts; hard points, power, and data connections for weapons integration; support and test equipment; publications and technical documentation; personnel training and training equipment; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support. The total estimated program cost is $600 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 defense. 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

The principal contractor will be General Atomic Aeronautical System, Inc., San Diego, CA. The purchaser typically requests offsets. Any offset agreement will be defined in negotiations between the purchaser and the contractor.

The SeaGuardian is the naval variant of the M-9B, it can be configured with cross-domain capabilities for a vast range of maritime surveillance operations, including, Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), HA/DR – Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief, Search and Rescue, Law Enforcement (Drug Trafficking, Illegal Immigration, Piracy, OMSI – Oceanic Maritime Security Initiative) and Airborne Counter Mine Capability (Developmental).

The MQ-9B Seaguardian has a length of 11.7m and a wingspan of 24m. It can operate at an altitude of 40,000 ft MSL (Mean Sea Level) and at a range of 5,000 nmi. The drone is powered by a 950 horsepower (710 kW) Honeywell TPE331-10 turboprop engine, it can reach a maximum speed of about 210 ktas with a maximum cruising range of 5,000 nmi.

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