Fri, Oct 06, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Defense ministry releases report on Han Kuang drills

MILITARY EXERCISES The review focused on the failure of six types of missiles launched during the war games, and blamed a lack of money

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of National Defense yesterday presented its evaluation and review of the annual Han Kuang military exercises to the legislature's National Defense Committee, and urged lawmakers to approve the long-delayed arms procurement budget.

"It is necessary to approve and carry out the arms procurement proposal as soon as possible if we want to defend ourselves from potential attacks by Chinese guided missiles and submarines," the report concluded.

MISSILE FAILURES

Six missiles of various types that failed shortly after launch during the live-fire portion of the this year's exercises were the focus of the report.

The ministry said that the performance of the personnel participating in the activity was satisfactory, but that the missiles had failed because the military did not have enough funding to keep its equipment up to date.

In the meantime, the report also mentioned that it is the ministry's plan to train more career military personnel to operate and maintain high-tech equipment such as the missiles operations systems.

VUNERABILITIES

In addition to the missile failures, the report also said that the military does not have enough anti-submarine and anti-vessel missiles, which will make the military vulnerable when facing challenges from the sea.

The report also described holes in the nation's air defenses, saying the country does not have enough maritime patrol or fighter aircraft.

STALLED ARMS PACKAGE

A major US arms procurement proposal -- to purchase PAC-3 anti-missile batteries, 12 P-3C maritime patrol aircraft and eight diesel-electric submarines -- has been stuck in the legislature since 2003.

The package was originally estimated at NT$610.8 billion (US$18.45 billion), but was soon reduced to NT$590 billion and then to NT$480 billion because of changes in currency exchange rates.

The Cabinet has now asked for NT$6.2 billion in supplemental funding to jumpstart procurement of some of the items, but the proposal is still blocked in the legislature.

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