Some key arms procurements from the US would be delayed by a few years because the Ministry of National Defense does not have sufficient funds, a legislator yesterday said.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方), who sits on the legislature’s Foreign and National Defense Committee, said in a press statement that according to the ministry, Taiwan’s procurement of six PAC-3 missile launching systems from the US would be delayed from 2014 to 2017, while the procurement of 60 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters would be delayed from 2016 to 2019.
Four launchers were authorized for sale in 2008, while the helicopters and two other launchers were part of a US$6.4 billion arms package notified to the US Congress in January. As the letter of agreement contracts for those items have already been signed, however, it remains to be seen whether this would affect delivery.
Lin said the delays were caused by a military budget shortage and the nation’s financial difficulties.
Lin also requested in the legislature that the ministry not earmark large budgets for arms procurement from the US, as this could undermine domestic programs.
According to military budget plans, Lin said, the ministry has earmarked a total of NT$330.7 billion (US$10.74 billion) in arms procurements from next year to 2014, averaging NT$82.7 billion per year. Of this budget, the military has earmarked NT$201.1 billion, or 61 percent of the total procurement budget, for arms purchases from the US, or NT$50.3 billion per year.
Lin said the share of domestic procurement should be maintained at between 40 percent and 50 percent of the overall arms procurement budget. The legislator said the ministry had earmarked NT$4 billion for procurement plans for F-16C/D fighter aircraft and diesel submarines from the US. However, as it is unlikely Taiwan will be able to obtain them in the near future, the ministry should not allocate large budgets for them, Lin said.
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