Taipei, July 9 (CNA) Taiwan's military is planning a budget of NT$30 billion (US$990 million) for the purchase of 108 M1A2 tanks from the U.S. to replace its aging battle tanks, a military source told CNA Monday.
Currently, the R.O.C. Armed Forces have more than 1,000 battle tanks, mostly aging M60A3 and CM-11 tanks.
The defense ministry is set to allocate NT$30 billion in next year's defense budget to fund an official arms procurement request from the U.S. for the more modern M1A2 Abrams battle tanks, the source said.
The military is also likely to ask Washington to sell Taipei precision ammunition to be used by the tanks, said the source on condition of anonymity because the individual was not authorized to speak publicly on the issue.
If the U.S. grants the sale, the source said the 108 battle tanks will all be assigned to the Sixth Army Corps which is responsible for the security of Northern Taiwan, where most of the central government agencies are located.
Approved for production in 1990, the M1A2 represents the U.S. Army's technological improvement on the basic M1A1 design and is currently the most modern battle tank in the world.
An arms procurement proposal previously submitted by the army to the defense ministry lists nine items to replace or upgrade armaments that have been in service for more than 25 years.
Other than aiming for more advanced battle tanks, the Army would also like to purchase anti-tank guided missiles, self-propelled air defense systems, mortars and 155mm howitzers, infantry fighting vehicles, tracked field recovery vehicles, fuel trucks and new rifles.
Whether the U.S. government will approve such an arms procurement request remains uncertain at this time.