DEFENSE/Minister confirms plans to buy NASAMS 2 air defense system from U.S.
Taipei, July 18 (CNA) Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) on Tuesday confirmed that Taiwan has plans to purchase a National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System 2 (NASAMS 2) from the United States.
Speaking on the sidelines of a legislative session, Chiu said media reports about the acquisition were correct but that the military had not yet received an official notification regarding a timeline for the purchase.
Chiu said the effectiveness of NASAMS had been demonstrated by its performance in Ukraine, where U.S. defense officials claim it has had a 100 percent success rate in intercepting Russian missiles.
Chieh Chung (揭仲), an associate research fellow with the National Policy Foundation in Taipei, told CNA that part of the NASAM 2's attractiveness was the system's ability to use Link 16, a standardized military communications protocol providing tactical data links between North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members.
NASAM 2 can also be integrated with other systems as a highly adaptable mid-range air defense solution and improve engagement efficiency, Chieh added.
An unnamed expert who spoke with CNA described NASAM 2 as a powerful short- to medium-range, ground-based air defense system that can protect against a variety of aerial threats, including drone, missile, helicopter and aircraft attacks within 40-50 kilometers.
According to the expert, the system integrates U.S.-built MPQ-64 Sentinel air defense radar, as well as multiple short- and medium-range air defense missile systems.
In addition, the expert said, AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air (AMRAAM), AMRAAM Extended Range, short-range AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder and the German-made IRIS-T short-range anti-aircraft missiles are all compatible with the system.
A separate military source told CNA that the system Taiwan plans to acquire is a distributed and networked air defense system.
The source said that after an initial assessment, the system is expected to be used in combination with two air defense systems developed by the National Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology.
Meanwhile, military expert Chen Kuo-ming (陳國銘) said that the system could be refitted into a medium-range air defense system and would likely be the first choice for repelling cruise missiles.
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