Seen here is the Rotem L Loitering Munition made by the Israeli company Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). Photo taken during the 2018 Asian Defence and Security (ADAS) Trade Show at the World Trade Center in Pasay, Metro Manila.

Taiwan has begun arming itself with loitering ammunition, similar to the US Switchblade.

Next month, local manufacturer JC Tech is set to sign its first contract with the Taiwanese military for the Flyingfish drone.

JC Tech’s Flyingfish will come in three sizes, with the medium size called Flyingfish 200; it will be able to carry a payload of around 10-12 grenades, equivalent to 500 grams.  When loaded with explosives it will weigh just over 2kg. It is likely to be 1.15 meters long.

According to Robert Cheng, JC Tech’s president, the US Switchblade inspired him and his team to design and develop the Flyingfish.

“Our drone is a single-rotor drone designed for the Coast Guard,” said Cheng.

He went on to add, Taiwan should build a fleet of Flyingfish drones capable of eliminating critical enemy weapon systems in the early stages of hostilities.

“The flying fish will strengthen the country’s defense,” said Cheng.

The Flyingfish will not only benefit the Coast Guard, but also its ground forces. They can use the loitering munition to target artillery, tanks and even us it against ships. The Flyingfish will have built-in GPS, and will be equipped with artificial intelligence along with an assortment of different types of cameras.

Here is how Flyingfish works: once it identifies the target, it will destroy the target by self-detonation. At its current price of just $3000, the Flyingfish is a cost effective solution since it is significantly cheaper than cruise missile or other combat drones.

“Using flying fish in large quantities is cost-effective and very effective,” said Cheng.

He went on to add, the introduction of loitering munition marks the beginning of asymmetric warfare; the flying fish is “a great weapon” he said.

Since the Flyingfish is portable, it is easy to deploy, making it a very versatile weapon.