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DEFENSE/Pentagon awards contract to make jet fighter missiles for Taiwan

02/05/2024 11:35 AM
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F-16 fighter CNA file photo
F-16 fighter CNA file photo

Taipei, Feb. 5 (CNA) The United States Department of Defense (DoD) recently awarded a US$68.4 million contract to an American company to build 50 advanced air-to-ground missiles for supply to Taiwan over the next four years, according to the DoD website.

The missiles, which will be supplied to Taiwan as part of an arms sale package approved by Washington in June 2017, will be used as weaponry on Taiwan's fleet of F-16V fighter jet to boost their long-range strike capabilities, according to a statement released on the website Feb. 2

Under the DoD's US$68.4 million contract, the 50 Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) Air-To-Ground Missiles will be built by a unit of the American aerospace and defense conglomerate RTX Corp. and supplied to Taiwan's government over a four-year period, the statement said.

Most of the production will be done in Tucson, Arizona, where the unit Raytheon Missiles & Defense (RMD) is based, and the completion date is expected to be March 2028, according to the statement.

The Air-To-Ground Missile (AGM-154) is a 1,000-pound air-to-surface precision strike weapon that can carry several different lethal packages and has been integrated on a number of U.S.-made fighter jets, including Taiwan's fleet of F-16s.

The weapon's standoff range of 12 to 63 nautical miles allows for it to be fired from outside the range of enemy point defenses while effectively engaging and destroying targets.

When completed, the missiles will be supplied to Taiwan as part of the 2017 arms sale package, which has a total cost of US$185.5 million and includes JSOW integration, dummy training missiles, missile containers, spare parts, support and test equipment, Joint Mission Planning System updates, and other technical and logistics support services.

Taiwan's Air Force recently completed the upgrade all 141 of its F-16A/B fighter jets to F-16Vs, which are now equipped with more advanced avionics, including the APG-83 Scalable Agile Beam Radar, helmet-mounted cueing system, and other flight management and electronic warfare systems.

In addition, Taiwan last year began taking delivery of a purchase order of 66 new F-16Vs from the U.S.

(By Joseph Yeh)

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