Fri, Sep 14, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Pentagon plans new missile, aircraft sale to Taiwan

AGENCIES , WASHINGTON

The Pentagon announced possible military sales to Taiwan worth more than US$2.2 billion on Wednesday, including a dozen P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft and SM-2 anti-aircraft missiles.

The Defense Security and Cooperation Agency said the sales would help maintain "political stability, military balance and economic progress in the region."

The agency said that Taiwan had requested 12 P-3C aircraft with engines and other equipment and three non-operational aircraft that would be used for spares.

They would cost US$1.96 billion if all options were exercised, it said.

The Pentagon said Taiwan's patrol aircraft are reaching the end of their operational life and need to be replaced.

The P-3C Orions, which would come from excess US stock, can conduct maritime patrol and reconnaissance, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare.

As part of the proposed P-3C deal, Taiwan would also get help integrating its intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance network, the Pentagon said.

The agency also gave Congress notice of a possible sale of 144 SM-2 Block IIIA Standard missiles valued at as high as US$272 million.

Taiwan, which already has SM-2 missiles, intended to use them on its destroyers to defend its navy against air and cruise missile threats, it said.

The proposed sale would boost Taiwan's security and help maintain political stability, the military balance and economic progress in the region, the notice to Congress said.

The sale would serve the interests of the US "by supporting the recipient's continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and enhance its defensive ability to counter air threats," the agency said.

The notice of a potential sale is required by law and does not mean a deal has been made. Congress can block proposed arms sales.

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