The U.S. military has left large amounts of equipment in Iraq after completing troop withdrawal from the Middle East country in December 2011.
As the U.S. government plans to sell them as military surplus goods to its allies, Taiwan's Army authorities are reportedly studying the feasibility of acquiring some of those to be put up for sale.
The Army's priority purchase target will be M1A1 battle tanks, according to local media reports.
Nevertheless, military spokesman Luo Shou-he said the Ministry of National Defense (MND) has not received any information from U.S. authorities about the sale.
Media reports also said the 400-plus surface-to-air and air-to-air Sparrow missiles Taiwan's Air Force has purchased from the United States have been categorized as "for emergency use" only after they flopped tests, including one in a live-fire drill last year.
Responding to the reports, military sources said initial examination by U.S. military personnel showed that the failure in last year's Taiwan Air Force test-firing mainly resulted from problems with the missile's rocket propeller and radar cross section, which is an essential parameter in radar range calculation.
To reduce safety risks, the sources said, the Air Force has suspended test-firing of Sparrow missiles. is still
The following are excerpts from local media coverage of relevant issues:
United Daily News:
Taiwan had previously acquired U.S. military surplus goods. For instance, the Army purchased a batch of M60A3 tanks after the 1991 Persian Gulf War, which are armored brigades' main battle tanks.
According to past experiences, military sources said, U.S. military surplus goods tend to be sold for 1 percent of the price for a new military item.
"The payment is mostly used to finance packaging and delivery," said a military expert.
When Taiwan's naval authorities bought P-3C anti-submarine aircraft, they also purchased two P-3A aircraft which cost only 1 percent of the price for a new one, the expert said.
Vice Defense Minister Chao Shih-chang said earlier this year that the Army needs 200 new tanks.
Military sources also said recently that if the Army can acquire new tanks, they will be deployed at the Hukou army base in Hsinchu County in northern Taiwan.
According to foreign wire service reports, the U.S. military has left some US$16.5 billion worth of military equipment in Iraq, which will need 120,000 containers to transport by sea.
United Evening News:
Military sources said the U.S. delay in resolving the Sparrow missile issue has affected Taiwan's air defense.
According to the sources, the nearly NT$300 million worth of Sparrow missiles have almost become waste.
The sources further said the Air Force has decided to purchase locally produced Chiehling (Swift Antelope) surface-to-air missiles to replace Sparrow missiles to reinforce the country's air defense capabilities. (July 23, 2012).
(By Sofia Wu)