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DEFENSE/Taiwan to get all 1,700 TOW 2B anti-tank missiles from U.S. by year-end

06/17/2024 01:54 PM
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Defense Minister Wellington Koo. CNA photo June 17, 2024
Defense Minister Wellington Koo. CNA photo June 17, 2024

Taipei, June 17 (CNA) Taiwan's military is expected to take delivery of all 1,700 TOW 2B anti-tank missiles and 100 launchers it previously bought from the United States before the end of this year, following a two-year delay, the nation's defense minister said Monday.

Wellington Koo (顧立雄) made the comments during a legislative session when asked by ruling Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) when Taipei could expect to receive the weaponry from Washington.

Taiwan's government originally allocated NT$11.81 billion (US$364 million) over the 2018-2025 fiscal years to purchase 1,700 TOW 2B anti-tank missiles and 100 launchers from the U.S.

Delivery was initially set to start in 2022, but so far Taiwan has yet to receive any, Wang said.

In response, Koo said the delay was due to the weapons failing to pass required U.S. Army tests.

However, they have now all passed and will arrive in Taiwan before the end of the year, Koo said.

Koo added that the TOW 2B anti-tank missiles and launchers are one of three major arms packages Taiwan has bought from the U.S. that have suffered major delivery delays.

A TOW 2A missile is launched during a military exercise in Pingtung County, southern Taiwan, in July 2023. CNA file photo
A TOW 2A missile is launched during a military exercise in Pingtung County, southern Taiwan, in July 2023. CNA file photo

According to Koo, one package consists of 66 F-16Vs, while the other includes AGM-154 air-to-ground missile systems, renowned for their precision in air-to-surface strikes.

Koo said the U.S. side is expected to deliver two F-16V prototypes to Taiwan for further flight tests in the fourth quarter of this year.

He added that Taipei has requested that Washington deliver all 66 by the end of 2026.

However, he did not disclose the exact number of AGM-154s Taiwan has brought from the U.S. and when they are expected to be delivered.

The TOW 2B missile targets the top of armored vehicles, where they are most vulnerable, an unnamed military source told CNA.

The acquisition of such weapons would help deter the enemy in case of an invasion, the source added.

When visiting Taiwan in May, Michael McCaul, chair of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, told reporters that there was roughly US$20 billion worth of arms waiting to be delivered from the U.S. and that delays were mainly due to industry-related issues.

(By Matt Yu and Joseph Yeh)

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