Taiwan beefs up defence capabilities amid escalating threats from China
As an established company that specialises in radio-controlled vehicles, Thunder Tiger Group started research into underwater vehicles five years ago mainly for commercial use.
However, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 was a turning point amid the escalating military threat across the strait, Thunder Tiger Group chairman William Chen said.
“After the Russia-Ukraine war, we began to contemplate how to further upgrade our vessels and use them to defend the safety across the strait – use that as a base to begin talks with our relevant government agencies on how to apply our technology to their needs,” he said.
Seawolf 400 is expected to make its international debut in September and start mass production early next year.
UNMANNED SUBMARINE AS WEAPON
With drones being widely used in military warfare these days, Mr Chen believes his firm’s latest unmanned submarine can be weaponised.
“We can put some explosives into the vessel and it could become a vessel with destructive capability. It can also be deployed in a large number through a single point of control to carry out missions under water,” he said.
The company recently teamed up with a United States radar company on its helicopter drone for reconnaissance purposes, and met with a delegation of 25 US defence contractors that had participated in a defence forum in Taiwan.
Thunder Tiger Group hopes the visit would mark the beginning of future collaborations on Taiwan’s drone production.
STRENGTHENING TAIWAN’S DEFENCE CAPABILITIES
A former Taiwan military official believes that these unmanned vehicles will strengthen the island’s defence capabilities.
While drones can be effective, unmanned underwater vehicles are an untapped resource, said former chief of general staff Lee Hsi-Min.
“I believe our government should support the surveillance industry, defence industry to develop this kind of weapons system. I believe that would be a very effective weapon,” he said.