Taiwan announces two arms procurement deals with U.S.

06/17/2021 03:25 PM
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A HIMARS rocket launcher. Image taken from Wikimedia Commons
A HIMARS rocket launcher. Image taken from Wikimedia Commons

Taipei, June 17 (CNA) The Ministry of National Defense (MND) on Thursday announced that Taiwan has signed two arms procurement contracts with the United States, buying two weapon systems that boost the nation's defense capabilities.

The contracts were signed between the nation's Defense Mission in the U.S. and the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) which handles relations with Taiwan on behalf of the U.S. government in the absence of official diplomatic ties, according to the MND in a public announcement posted online.

The ministry did not make public details of the two arm sale packages, saying only that one is "a long-range precision fire system" and another "a batch of missiles," nor did it say when the deals were signed.

A source close to the matter told CNA that the two packages are the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems (HCDS) that local defense experts have said could significantly boost Taiwan's asymmetrical warfare capabilities.

According to the MND announcement, the long-range precision fire system contract cost NT$9.62 billion (US$346 million) and took effect on June 1.

The deployment of the system will be completed in 2027 in Taoyuan and be the responsibility of the Army Command Headquarters.

Meanwhile, the contract to purchase the missiles will cost NT$39 billion and took effect on May 19. The deployment of the missiles is expected to be complete in 2028. The Navy Command Headquarters is in charge of the project in Kaohsiung city, according to the MND.

The two packages were first announced by the U.S. in October 2020 to improve Taiwan's long-range counterstrike capability, in the event of an attack.

With an estimated cost of US$436.1 million, the HIMARS sale includes 11 HIMARS M142 Launchers; 64 Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) M57 Unitary Missiles; seven M1152Al High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs); 11 M240B Machine Guns, 7.62MM; and 17 International Field Artillery Tactical Data Systems (IFATDS).

Meanwhile, Washington also announced that it would sell Taiwan 100 Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems and related equipment at an estimated cost of US$2.37 billion last October.

The arms package also comes with 400 Harpoon Block II missiles as well as 411 containers, 100 launcher Transporter Units and 25 radar trucks that can be deployed by a total of 25 missile vehicle units in Taiwan.

(By Matt Yu and Joseph Yeh)

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