In 2005, China had sent its fleet of Israeli built Harpy drones back to Israel for upgradation to Harop standard. The United States of America saw it as an opportunity to deprive China of UAV capabilities and exerted diplomatic pressure on Israel to violate and nullify the deal by not returning the drones to China, let alone upgrade it.

Israel meanwhile didn’t want to be kicked out of lion’s share of sales to China in the field of radars and missiles, returned the drones to avoid angering China, and refused to upgrade the drone to avoid angering America. However, the US after feeling betrayed by the Israelis, kicked them out of Joint Strike Fighter  (F-35) program, because the Harpy drones could potentially threaten American surveillance radars and crucial Taiwanese military targets.

3D model iai harpy loitering munition - TurboSquid 1436173
CGI – IAI Harpy

Israel, desperate to acquire stealth fifth generation planes decided to appease USA. They sold the Harpy technology to Taiwan, from which Taiwan made its own indigenous drone named Jian Hsiang, so that Taiwan, too, may be able to target vital Chinese installations.

Result is as shown below in the two images

Taiwanese Jian Hsiang Swarm Drone
Launch vehicle

The range of Taiwanese drones is the same as Harpy (500kms), and guess what, that same year, Israel was back in the Joint Strike Fighter program. The USA  was pleased that Taiwan too can deal a significant blow at a fraction of the cost of a high-tech fighter plane.

In addition, this sale in a way helped the United States of America to continue posing neutral on “One China Policy”. Taiwan however, is mass producing the drones and poses quite a threat to Chinese Military installations.

Israel simply got around it by selling the deadly technology unofficially to Taiwan, at the same time wooing Americans. Interestingly, the Chinese too reverse engineered, a Harpy drone called ASN-301, which is probably designed for export and has a range of 288kms (probably keeping in mind MTCR regulations of capping the range of standoff munitions to less than 300kms).

Chinese ASN-301 swarm drone
Launch Vehicle

Thanks to rift between America and Israel,  now both China as well as Taiwan have local swarm drone Technology based on Israeli Harpy.

Sachin Kamath

By Alpha Defense

Alpha Defense initially a solo venture but now a defense group by people from various demographics of India covering defense news and updates. We believe in unbiased analysis of every subject in hand. Our mission is to provide simplfiied defense information to the public.

2 thoughts on “Israeli Drone Diplomacy”
  1. How many drones india currently using ,, and what is the future of drone ,,
    And current option for indian defence force other than MQ-9
    According to last report of fighter aircraft,, india required minimum 42 squadron,, Is there any silimar report for artillery, tanks ,etc

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