US green lights MQ-9B SeaGuardian sale to Taiwan

The US State Department announced on November 3 that it has approved the possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of four General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) MQ-9B SeaGuardians to Taiwan.

Approval of the potential deal, worth an estimated US$600m, was announced in a media release from the US State Department’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), after it had notified the US Congress. In the deal, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US (TECRO) requested the four MQ-9B medium-altitude long-range (MALE) unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in a weapons-ready configuration.

MQ-9B SeaGuardian [GA-ASI]
Taiwan seeks to acquire four MQ-9B SeaGuardian remotely piloted air systems as part of a possible Foreign Military Sale​​​​​ that was approved by the US State Department on November 3, 2020. GA-ASI

The proposed sale also includes two fixed ground control stations, two mobile ground control, along with support/test equipment, personnel training and initial spare and repair parts. An unspecified number of Wescam MX-20 electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensors, Leonardo SAGE 750 electronic surveillance measures (ESM) systems and Raytheon SeaVue maritime multi-role patrol radars are also included in the deal.

In the media release, the DSCA said: “This improved 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 [defence].

“The capability is a deterrent to regional threats and will strengthen the recipient’s [self-defence]. The recipient will have no difficulty absorbing these systems into its armed forces,” the DSCA added.

GA-ASI will serve as the principle contractor for this possible FMS. No offset agreements have been proposed in connection with this potential sale.