Taiwan is taking measures to strengthen its defense capabilities against Chinese aggression. One such measure is the plan to convert its obsolete F-5 Tiger fighter jets into unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), according to local media reports. The F-5 Tiger jets have been in the Taiwan Air Force inventory for almost 50 years and are in need of replacement.
Taiwan’s National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) is currently working on the feasibility analysis of converting the F-5 Tiger jet into a UAV. The move comes as China is rapidly upgrading its military capabilities, retiring its aging warplanes such as J-6 and J-7 as a sacrificial element.
Meanwhile, Taiwan is also upgrading its fleet of aircraft with the acquisition of 45 AIDC T-5 Brave Eagle fighters developed by Taiwan Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC). The project, worth $2.3 billion in total, includes 33 fighters at Taitung Chihhang Air Base and 12 at Kaohsiung Gangshan Air Base.
In addition, Taiwan has ordered four SkyGuardian UAVs from the USA through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) channel. The UAVs will be purchased by the US Air Force from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and sold to Taiwan. The total value of the agreement signed between the two parties is approximately $217.6 million, with $107.4 million planned to be met from Taiwan’s foreign military sales funds.
Taiwan has been keeping a watchful eye on China’s aggressive policies and military activities, especially in the South China Sea. With the supplied UAVs, modernized warplanes, and ordered aircraft, Taiwan hopes to operate more actively in the region.