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Strategic UAV program running smoothly: official

TAIPEI -- A program to develop a strategic unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that can remain aloft for long periods has been proceeding very smoothly, the director-general of the Armaments Bureau under the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday.

Chin Shou-feng, who concurrently heads the military-run Chungshan Istitute of Science and Technology (CIST), made the revelation at a Legislative Yuan committee hearing during which he was asked about his views on a media report that the institute's UAV development project has hit a snag.

The Liberty Times said in a Monday report that the Chungshan Institute has spent NT$3 billion (about US$100 million) on a plan dubbed “Long March” that aims to develop a strategic UAV capable of conducting reconnaissance missions over airports in China's southeastern provinces such as Jiangxi and Guangdong.

The CIST developed UAV, however, has fallen short of the Air Force's requirements and has not been put into mass production, the report said.

During the legislative hearing, ruling Kuomintang Legislator Lin Yu-fang asked Chin if the CIST indeed has such a “Long March” plan, to which Chin responded in the negative, saying that CIST has never given such a name to any of its research programs.

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