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Control Yuan to look into MND progress on fighter drone program

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- In an annual defense and intelligence report released yesterday that confirmed the existence of a Ministry of National Defense (MND) program to develop fighter drones, the Control Yuan announced it will carefully look into the progress of Taiwan's defense research.

The multibillion-dollar Zhang Zheng (Long Journey) Project is part of the MND's long-term plan to shift from engaging in a cross-strait arms race to developing asymmetric warfare capabilities. Items in asymmetric warfare readiness development include research on cyber warfare, electromagnetic pulse (EMP) warfare, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), fighter UAVs and more, the report stated.

Leaked information on the Zhang Zheng Project was reported by local media last month. The MND then denied reports that the 5-year NT$3 billion project failed to achieve its targets due to unwarranted plan changes demanded by the Air Force. The MND also refused to confirm the existence of the fighter UAV development program.

In its report, the Control Yuan pointed out that the 50-percent cut in research funds at the MND's Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology over the last two years has capped the institute's R&D capabilities. The Control Yuan said it will investigate further to determine if the MND's key development programs are meeting their targets.

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