Sat, Jun 25, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Raytheon to supply new radar system

PENTAGON OFFER The contract from the US Air Force will provide Taiwan with early warning surveillance radar for its air and missile defense


The US Defense Department said on Thursday that it would supply Taiwan with key elements of a missile and air defense capability, a move aimed at defusing the threat from China.

Raytheon Co won a US Air Force contract worth up to US$752 million to supply the Early Warning Surveillance Radar by September 2009, the Pentagon said.

The system will let Taiwan's air force detect and track long- and short-range ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, enemy aircraft and surface ships with "no doubt" reliability, said Raytheon, based in Waltham, Massachusetts.

The system includes an ultra-high frequency "phased array" radar that will be integrated with Taiwanese-supplied beacons that identify aircraft as friends or foes as well as two missile warning centers, a Defense Department contract announcement said.

Raytheon began exploratory talks with Taiwan on the project in 1996, said Dan Martin, vice president, Surveillance and Sensor Systems, Integrated Defense Systems, Raytheon's "joint battlespace integration" company.

Such a system represents an important step toward identifying any inbound threats, said James Mulvenon of the Center for Research and Analysis, a Washington group that consults for US intelligence agencies.

Eventually, it could be mated with Patriot Advanced Capability 3 anti-missile batteries the US has also offered to sell Taiwan.

"The surveillance radar is the first step in the chain of engagement," Martin said. "We're proud to be selected ... to provide Taiwan with an early warning capability that will be a key element of its integrated air and missile defense system."

Mulvenon said Beijing would be particularly upset because missiles were at the forefront of its strategy for coercing Taiwan.

"This raises the possibility that Taiwan will actually be able to defend itself against those missiles," Mulvenon said.

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