Mon, Feb 07, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Lockheed withdraws bid for advanced radar system

AFP , TAIPEI

US defense giant Lockheed Martin has withdrawn its bid to supply Taiwan with an early-warning radar system as the country was reconsidering the controversial arms deal, leading defense journal Jane's Defense Weekly said.

Taiwan's military authorities were re-evaluating the proposed deal due to several factors, including the system's vulnerability, inability to detect cruise missiles and environmental concerns, Jane's quoted a Taiwan defense source as saying in an article to be published Wednesday.

"A large stationary radar like Pave Paws would be an easy target for anti-radiation missiles," the source said.

Lockheed Martin and Raytheon had been expected to submit proposals this year to supply a radar aimed at countering the ballistic missile threat from China, Jane's said. Lockheed Martin was offering a modified version of the Medium Extended Air Defence System, while Raytheon a modified AN/FPS-115 Pave Paws radar.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said last month that China had 706 ballistic missiles targeting the country and was increasing its battery by 120 a year.

Taiwan last year requested the sale of two ultra high frequency long-range early warning radars capable of detecting ballistic and cruise missiles for a price of nearly US$1.8 billion, the Pentagon said.

But critics of the radar deal argue that both systems are insufficient, given the cost involved and the short distance across the Strait. The additional six minutes' warning they would provide offers few advantages, they contend.

Washington has nudged Taiwan to invest in spy satellites and electronic eavesdropping aircraft, missile defenses, anti-submarine warfare systems and data-links that would give commanders a common picture of their operations.

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