Sun, Jan 22, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Purchase of US naval system finalized

SPLIT-SECOND:Outcomes in modern military conflicts are decided within seconds and the new systems would improve reaction times, the DPP’s Wang Ding-yu said

By Luo Tien-pin and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A graphic shows military units that use the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System, a radio network used by the US armed forces and allies to support data communications needs.

Image in the public domain provided by Wikimedia Commons

A deal to purchase an upgraded naval vessel communications system worth NT$2.15 billion (US$68.18 million) has been finalized with the US government, a high-ranking Taiwanese military officer said yesterday.

The officer, who declined to be named, said the deal secured the purchase of upgraded Link-16 and Link-11 systems, which would connect the Republic of China (ROC) Navy directly to the command center for the US’ Pacific fleet.

The system will give the ROC Navy the ability to share coordinates and other information with the US Seventh Fleet during combat operations, the officer said, adding that the move ties the two navies closer together.

The systems are already in use by NATO members and the US’ other allies in the Pacific, the officer said, adding that information can be shared among all allies during combat operations should the need arise.

The US can direct all of its allies in the field to coordinate operations, the officer said.

The officer said some of the ROC Navy’s ships would use the Link-16 system, which will connect those ships to other vessels, land-based radar systems and other military installations.

Kidd-class destroyers, Cheng Kung-class frigates, Lafayette-class frigates and Knox-class frigates would all use the Link-16 system, the officer said, adding that missile-equipped patrol ships and support vessels would use the Link-11 system, which only connects with other vessels.

The officer said the deal was rushed through with coordination between the American Institute in Taiwan and military representatives stationed in the US, adding that shipment and installation of the systems are expected to be completed by June 2021.

The officer said that while the systems’ main components are to be acquired from the US, communications and photoelectric components would be produced by domestic manufacturers.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) said that control over information is at the heart of armed conflict.

An effective means to transmit information is fundamental to military strategy, Lo said, adding that the procurement of the Link-16 and Link-11 systems would greatly benefit the nation’s military.

DPP Legislator Wang Ding-yu (王定宇) said the process of military cooperation with allies in the region began late last year when Taiwan, Japan and the US communicated military aircraft identifier signal information with each other, adding that Japan included contingencies for a possible conflict in the Taiwan Strait among recent training activities.

Outcomes in modern military conflicts are decided within seconds, Wang said, adding that the systems would dramatically improve the military’s reaction time and allow for rapid coordination of movements.

Additional reporting by Aaron Tu

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