After years of planning, work will officially begin early next month at sites around Greater Taichung and Greater Kaohsiung in preparation for the deployment of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) air defense units purchased from the US, senior officials said yesterday.
In all, NT$61.4 million (US$2 million) has been set aside from next year’s budget to prepare the sites for four PAC-3 units in the two special municipalities. A private contractor will oversee work at the sites, a Ministry of National Defense spokesman said, declined to provide further information on the engineering contract, citing Government Procurement Act (政府採購法) regulations.
Taiwan currently deploys three PAC-2 units, which were recently upgraded to PAC-3 configuration, around Taipei in Wanli (萬里), Nangang (南港) and Sindian (新店). During negotiations under Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) administration, it was decided that Taichung and Kaohsiung would both get Patriot units to protect the political and military centers, as well as critical infrastructure in central and southern parts of the country.
Photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin Corp
The ministry has reportedly mapped out a number of locations for the deployment of the PAC-3 units, including Greater Taichung’s Dadu Mountain (大肚山), Greater Kaohsiung’s Jenwu District (仁武), Greater Tainan’s Hutoupi (虎頭埤), as well as the Pingtung and Chiayi airports.
A military official would not confirm the sites chosen for the four units, which were included in the US$6.4 billion arms package notified to US Congress in October 2008 and are scheduled for delivery in 2014 or 2015. Two more units were part of a subsequent package announced in January 2010 and will be introduced as part of a future phase.
Raytheon Corp is the manufacturer of the fire units and radars, with Lockheed Martin Co producing the hit-to-kill missiles.
Taiwan has so far purchased a total of 388 PAC-3 missiles as part of the multibillion-dollar procurement deals. To increase the chances of intercept, PAC-3 doctrine calls for the use of two missiles per incoming target, a method known as “ripple firing.”
Although critics of the PAC-3 argue that the air defense system could easily be overwhelmed by a large number of Chinese ballistic missiles fired simultaneously or in close sequence, proponents of the system counter that from the beginning, the program was meant to deny Beijing the ability to engage in coercion by threatening limited missile attacks against key infrastructure to intimidate decisionmakers in Taipei.
ONGOING PROBE: A former Military Intelligence Bureau colonel, major general and another colonel, as well as five other people, have been questioned by prosecutors The Taipei District Court yesterday ordered that a retired colonel from the Military Intelligence Bureau (MIB) calling himself Taiwan’s “first special agent” be detained and held incommunicado as part of an ongoing investigation into espionage allegations targeting at least three former bureau officials. The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office was seeking to detain former MIB colonel Chang Chao-jan (張超然) over his alleged involvement in introducing retired agents to Chinese national security authorities and passing confidential documents to China. Chang’s actions, if proven, would contravene the National Security Act (國家安全法), which carries a prison term of three to 10 years, and the National Intelligence
The US House of Representatives’ China Task Force, launched by Republicans earlier this year, yesterday proposed the China task force act, a package of 137 pieces of legislation, seven of which involve Taiwan, in the hope of getting it passed before the 117th US Congress convenes on Jan. 3. The act encompasses a wide range of issues, including combatting Beijing’s influence around the globe, establishing the US’ dominance in determining 5G network standards and means for bringing UN members to task for abusing their influence within the UN system. The seven acts involving Taiwan address concerns such as the Taiwan Assurance Act
Chinese health authorities investigating a COVID-19 outbreak have said that they discovered live coronavirus on frozen food packaging, a finding that suggests the virus can survive in cold supply chains. The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday said that it had found traces of live COVID-19 on the outer packaging of frozen cod in the eastern city of Qingdao, marking the first time that live coronavirus has been detected on the outside of refrigerated goods. Researchers were investigating the source of a cluster of cases linked to a hospital in Qingdao. Genetic traces had previously been found in samples of
A Chinese soldier apprehended earlier this week by the Indian Army after he strayed across a tense de facto border was on Tuesday night handed back to China, an Indian government source in New Delhi said yesterday. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldier had on Monday been captured in the Demchok area of eastern Ladakh, the Indian Army said in a statement. The Chinese military also released a statement, saying that Corporal Wang Yalong was handed over early yesterday. New Delhi on Monday said that it had detained Wang after he crossed into Indian-controlled territory, while China announced that Wang had gotten