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Maintenance of Taiwan's AIM-120 missiles at risk: report

2011/02/17 21:16:10

Taipei, Feb. 17 (CNA) The sustainability of a U.S.-made missilethat is part of Taiwan's defense arsenal could be at risk because thecomponent makers have withdrawn from the manufacturing program,according to a military report.

The maintenance and life-cycle of the hundreds of AIM-120Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) that Taiwancurrently has in service could be affected by the move, said a TaiwanAir Force report on the 2010 AMRAAM International Users' Conferencethat was held in Florida in May 2010.

At the meeting, the U.S. had raised the issue of DiminishingManufacturing Sources and Material Shortages (DMSMS) , recommendingthat countries revise their procurement contracts to includemaintenance and warranty clauses, the report said.

Citing the U.S. Air Force 649th Armament Systems Squadron (ARSS)that is in charge of managing such weapon system programs, the reportsaid that the component shortage could begin in 2012.

However, the U.S. has been in contact with Raytheon, the mainmanufacturer of the missile, and the AMRAAM system program office onthe possibility of developing replacement components, the reportstated.

The U.S also intends to develop joint logistics support planswith Raytheon for the next two decades to maintain U.S. air dominanceuntil at least 2030, according to the report.

The Taiwan air force is seeking assistance and advice from theU.S. on the issue because the humidity in Taiwan presents problemsfor the maintenance and storage of the missile, the report stated.

The AIM-120 is an air-to-air missile capable of all-weather,night and day performance. It is currently in service in the U.S. and34 other countries, including Taiwan, with the total number exceeding18,000.

(By Chris Wang)
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