Fri, Aug 10, 2007 - Page 3 News List

US Congress notified of possible sale of missiles

AFP , WASHINGTON

The Pentagon said on Wednesday it had notified the US Congress of the possible sale of 60 Harpoon Block II anti-ship cruise missiles to Taiwan.

The proposed deal was valued at an estimated US$125 million, the Defense Security and Cooperation Agency said.

"The proposed sale will help improve the security of the recipient and assist in maintaining political stability, military balance and economic security in the region," the agency said in a press statement.

It said the proposed sale would improve Taiwan's security and help maintain political stability, military balance and economic security in the region.

The sale would include 60 ABM-84L missiles, 30 lugs for air-launched missiles and 50 kits to upgrade the AGM-84G version of the missile to the AGM-84L.

The Harpoon can be launched from fighter aircraft, surface ships or submarines to attack targets on land as well as at sea.

Boeing, which manufactures the missiles, says its GPS-aided navigational system enables the missiles to distinguish ships from nearby islands or land masses, or to strike them in congested sea lanes.

"The 500-pound blast warhead delivers lethal firepower against a wide variety of land-based targets, including coastal defense sites, surface-to-air missile sites, exposed aircraft, port industrial facilities, ships in port," a Boeing fact sheet said.

The Pentagon statement noted that Taiwan has bought both air and surface-launched Harpoon missiles before.

It said the sale was in keeping with the Taiwan Relations Act, which commits the US to providing Taiwan with "arms of a defensive character."

A Taiwanese official stationed in Washington said on Wednesday that continued sales of US Harpoon missiles will help beef up Taiwan's deterrence force.

Taiwan also purchased F-16 jet fighters from the US in the 1990s, the official said.

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