Taiwan preparing for M1A2T tanks with help from U.S.: army

04/15/2020 12:10 PM
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Courtesy of www.army.mil
Courtesy of www.army.mil

Taipei, April 15 (CNA) Taiwan has begun to prepare to train personnel and set up training facilities for the 108 M1A2T Abrams tanks the United States is to deliver to Taiwan from 2023 to 2026, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) said Wednesday.

According to an Army report presented during a legislative session Wednesday, it began preparing early this year for the eventual arrival of the tanks, including training seed instructors, setting up training grounds and bunkers, and purchasing simulators.

The preparations are being made with the help of the United States.

Experts from the U.S. visited Taiwan from Feb. 18 to 25 and surveyed several sites, and the planning for their actual development is in progress, while discussions for building additional bunkers in different camps are also ongoing, the report said.

Another 168 army officers with foreign language skills and 72 young officers who had been studying in U.S. military schools have also been placed on a reserve list for training in the U.S., the report said.

Taiwan purchased the 108 M1A2T tanks to modernize its current fleet of 1,000 battle tanks, mostly M60A3 and CM-11 models, that have been in service for more than two decades.

The U.S. approved selling the sale in July 2019 and a letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) was signed by the two countries four months later.

A budget of NT$40.52 billion (US$1.34 billion) has been allotted for the purchase of these advanced tanks and deliveries are expected in four batches from 2023 to 2026, the report said.

Among other preparations being made, Taiwan's Army is planning to send 84 Army personnel to the U.S. to train for six to nine months as seed instructors in 2023, according to the report.

In addition, Taiwan's Army will purchase shooting and driving simulators from the U.S., to be delivered together with the arrival of the first M1A2T tanks, the report said.

The National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST), Taiwan's state-owned institution in charge of developing indigenous weapon systems, will also develop Taiwan's own simulators and install other training facilities at military camps where the tanks will be deployed, according to the report.

The M1A2, among the most capable battle tanks in the world because of its fire control system, will be assigned to the Sixth Army Corps, which is responsible for the security of northern Taiwan, where most central government agencies are located, the MND said.

(By Matt Yu and Emerson Lim)

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