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Taiwan’s Navy conducted a successful first-ever fly-over demonstration using the locally developed Albatross tactical unmanned aircraft vehicles (UAV) in Pingtung. The drone, developed by National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology(NCSIST), gave its first public takeoff, landing and fly-over demonstration at a military base in Pingtung according to the Taiwan Central News Agency (CNA).
The Albatross is made from composite material structures and a modular system. It is equipped with optical EO/IR payloads and characterized by long endurance flight, GPS navigation systems, autopilot ability, real-time data and video transmission and communications relay.
According to defence-blog.com, in military applications, the UAS is used for day and night surveillance and reconnaissance, target acquisition and designation and battlefield damage assessment, etc. All the real-time imagery and data can be transmitted to ground control station for the relay transmission system to assist to transmit information to HQ, an ability which plays a crucial part in different types of operations.
The joint military operation simulated a scenario in which a Yilan Keelung-class guided-missile destroyer and Kun Ming Kang Ding class frigate were sent into waters off Taiwan to protect the country from ballistic missile attacks, while the Albatross drone was dispatched to gather aerial intelligence and send back real-time images. After several reported crashes involving Albatross UAVs over the past few years, including one when a drone crashed into the sea during a military exercise off Taitung, due to suspected mechanic failure, Navy officer Hsieh Min-chang said the Navy will continue to gather data and information about drone operations so NCSIST can modify and improve the model.
Note that there is a different UAV model also called Albatross, a commercial system manufactured by Applied Aeronautics in the US.