Taiwan seals deal with U.S. to buy MS-110 reconnaissance pods
Taipei, July 28 (CNA) The Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced Wednesday that Taiwan has signed a contract with the United States to purchase six sets of MS-110 airborne reconnaissance systems, which experts said would significantly boost long-range air reconnaissance capability.
The contract was signed between Taiwan's Defense Mission in the U.S. and the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), which handles U.S. relations with Taiwan in the absence of official diplomatic ties, according to the MND.
In its online announcement, however, the MND did not give any details of the arms package, saying only that it is the "latest generation airborne reconnaissance pod."
The ministry said the NT$9.63 billion (US$343 million) purchasing contract with the U.S. took effect on July 8, and the system will be deployed in Hualien County, eastern Taiwan, by March 15, 2029.
A military source with knowledge of the deal told CNA that the package comprises six MS-110 Recce Pods for Taiwan's fleet of F-16 jets that the U.S. agreed in October 2020 to supply.
According to the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which had announced the potential arms sale last October, the package is also likely to include 11 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and 135 Standoff Land Attack Missile-Expanded Response (SLAM-ERs).
Meanwhile, Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲), a senior analyst at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research, told CNA that the MS-110 Recce Pods are more advanced than the widely deployed DB-110 dual band airborne reconnaissance systems for long-range imagery.
The new system allows rapid exploitation of multispectral imagery, via high speed near-real-time data links, and can greatly increase the military's capabilities in terms of intelligence gathering, he said.
The sensor is compatible with advanced fighters such as F-16s, F-15s and F/A-18s, the French Rafale Multirole Combat Fighter, and UAVs such as the MQ-9, he added.
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