Taiwan, U.S. finalize deal to update military communication system

03/11/2022 07:12 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Taipei, March 11 (CNA) Taiwan has signed an agreement with the United States to finalize the purchase of a NT$6.99 billion (US$246.39 million) military communication system that will update a system in use in Taiwan for nearly two decades.

Though the deal was finalized on Feb. 17, it was not made public until posted on the website of the Government e-Procurement System on March 9.

The government system revealed few details on the purchase, other than it was for a "Field Information Communications System" that will be delivered over the next three years, and be managed by the defense ministry's Information, Communications and Electronic Force Command.

When the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) first announced the possible sale in December 2020, it said it would include 154 Communications Nodes with S-788 Type III shelter, 24 Communication Relays with S-788 Type III shelter, and eight Network Management Systems (NMS) with S-788 Type III shelter.

It would also include the relevant equipment, training and support, according to the DSCA.

That package was valued at US$280 million at the time of the DSCA announcement, so it was unclear if the items to be purchased or their prices have been adjusted since then.

It was also not known why it took a relatively long 14 months from the time of the DSCA announcement to finalize the purchase, though it can take time to find contractors to manufacture the items proposed or negotiate adjustments to the original proposal.

The sale was finalized at a time when Taiwan's existing military communications system has been in use for two decades and needed an upgrade.

Shu Hsiao-huang (舒孝煌), an analyst at Taiwan's Institute for National Defense and Security Research, told CNA previously that while the focus in the past has been on the purchase of weapons, communications have become an important part of modern warfare.

It was important, therefore, for Taiwan's Army in particular to establish a comprehensive network of communication nodes, he said, adding that communications in the Air Force and Navy are generally not as heavily affected by topography and infrastructure.

In addition, Shu said, the new system will help Taiwan's military reduce its reliance on civilian communication networks during wartime.

A military source told CNA recently that the new system being provided by the U.S. can also help Taiwan's Armed Forces when dealing with disaster relief missions.

(By Matt Yu and Kay Liu)

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