Taiwan to get Nato’s Link 22 and SeaGuardian drones from US: Report

An MQ-1 Predator, armed with AGM-114 Hellfire missiles. [Photo: Wikimedia/US Air Force]

Taiwan is expecting to take delivery of powerful MQ-9B SeaGuardian drones in 2025 after the US State Department approved the US$600 million deal three years ago, South China Morning Post reported.

Taiwan’s acquisition of Nato’s Link 22 tactical communications system will bolster the island’s defences, especially with the planned addition of four advanced surveillance and reconnaissance drones from the United States, SCMP reported quoting military experts.

The repot quoting a senior Taiwanese defence official said that the US would help the self-ruled island to acquire the advanced data link and radio system.

It also quoted experts saying that in a conflict with the mainland Link 22 would be a highly valuable defence communications asset for Taiwan, which does not have its own satellite system.

“Taiwan’s acquisition of Nato’s Link 22 will enable it to operate the MQ-9B SeaGuardian drones to be provided by the US,” Taipei-based military commentator Chi Le-yi said.

“[The US] sale of four MQ-9Bs to Taiwan and its acquisition of Link 22 for support could be seen as a part of the US integrated deterrence strategy in light of the increasing risk of military conflict between Taiwan and the mainland.”

Link 22 is the beyond-line-of-sight communications platform used by Nato members in joint operations.

The SeaGuardian drones, which have a range of up to 6,000km (3,730 miles) and 40 hours of flight time, are expected to be a boost to anti-submarine operations and surveillance.

The Pentagon’s integrated deterrence strategy emphasises the use of diplomacy, economic statecraft, and military power together to deter enemy forces from aggression.

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