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US$345 million military aid includes 4 MQ-9A drones: Source

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US$345 million military aid includes 4 MQ-9A drones: Source

Taipei, Aug. 14 (CNA) The United States' US$345 million military aid package for Taiwan announced late July is set to include four MQ-9A reconnaissance drones, a military source told CNA on Monday.

The unnamed source said that Washington is still working on removing some of the more advanced and sensitive components of the drones, so there is no set delivery date.

Aside from the four MQ-9As, the US$345 million aid package also includes training programs and ammunitions for Taiwan's military, the source added.

Asked to comment, the Ministry of National Defense told CNA that it would not provide further details of the aid package in order to honor the U.S.-Taiwan agreement.

Previously commenting on MQ-9A, Lin Ying-yu (林穎佑), an assistant professor at Tamkang University's Institute of Strategic Studies, told CNA that the drones would significantly boost Taiwan's overall intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities as they can swiftly pass received intelligence to logistics units via a satellite link.

Taiwan also purchased four MQ-9B "Sea Guardian" drones from former U.S. President Donald Trump's administration for US$217 million, with delivery expected in 2025.

The U.S. announced the US$345 million military aid package for Taiwan on July 28, which is to be delivered under a Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA) approved last year by the U.S. Congress and permits up to US$1 billion of weapons aid to be sent to Taiwan in the 2023 fiscal year.

The PDA enables the U.S. president to direct a drawdown to provide military assistance to U.S. allies in crisis situations.

It allows for the speedy delivery of defense articles and services from the Pentagon's existing stock to foreign countries and international organizations in order to respond to "unforeseen emergencies," according to the U.S. State Department.

However, since last year, Taiwan has been highlighting delays in the delivery of weapons it has purchased from the U.S.

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