Taipei, Oct. 15 (CNA) The United States will soon send Taiwan a letter of offer and acceptance (LOA), a contract between the U.S. military and a foreign military sale customer, to officially seal the M1A2 tank sale, Taiwan's defense ministry said Tuesday.
The U.S. Department of State approved the possible sale to Taiwan of M1A2 Abrams tanks, Stinger man-portable air defense systems, and other related equipment worth over US$2.2 billion in July.
Since then, however, Taiwan's military has not make public the latest progress on the weapons purchase consisting of 108 M1A2 Abrams tanks, 1,240 BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles, 409 FGM-148 Javelin surface-to-air missiles and 250 FIM-92 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles.
Commenting on the deal, Taiwan's Army said Tuesday that the process of finalizing the deal is going smoothly and according to schedule.
The U.S. side is expected to send Taiwan an LOA "in the near future," as the deal is in the final stage of a bilateral review process, a statement issued by the Army said.
Once Taiwan receives the LOA, it will further evaluate its military needs before signing the LOA and sending it back to the U.S. to finalize the deal, the statement said.
Based on a list of steps provided by the Defense Ministry that are involved when Taiwan asks the United States to sell it weapons, once a request is made, if the U.S. gives it a green light, Washington sends an LOA to Taiwan detailing its offer.
Taipei then reviews the offer and completes a proposal for the procurement project before sending the LOA back to Washington.
Various U.S. government branches then review the proposal before the U.S. government notifies Congress of the sale and the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) under the Department of Defense makes the deal public.
The process is completed once both sides sign the LOA, according to Taiwan's military.
This is the process in theory, but for the tank sale, the U.S. side notified the Congress and the DSCA made public the deal in July before the U.S. side sent an LOA to Taiwan.
The Defense Ministry said the M1A2 tanks are meant to replace some of its aging M60A3 Patton and CM-11 Brave Tiger tanks that have been in service for more than 20 years.
If the purchase is finalized, 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 central government agencies are located, the military said.