Defense industry sources yesterday denied a report filed last week that Taiwan had decided to drop a plan to purchase a second early-warning radar (EWR) from the US, saying the decision had been made several years ago.
Citing “military authorities,” Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported on Tuesday that the Ministry of National Defense had abandoned plans to add a second EWR to its inventory.
The story began more than a decade ago, when Taiwan launched efforts to improve its surveillance capabilities under what came to be known as the Surveillance Radar Program (SRP).
After four years of intense debate, in November 2003, a still-divided legislature agreed to set aside US$800 million for the acquisition of one EWR from the US. In March the following year, Washington responded with a US$1.77 billion notification to Congress, which provided an option for two ultra-high-frequency long-range EWRs.
US-based Raytheon Corp won a US$752 million contract in June 2005 for Taiwan’s first EWR, with construction in Leshan (樂山), Hsinchu County, beginning in 2009. With its 3,000km range and ability to track as many as 1,000 ballistic and air-breathing targets simultaneously, the by-now US$1 billion-plus EWR, which is expected to become operational by the end of this year, has been described as possibly the most powerful on the planet.
The project has not been without controversy over the years, primarily over rising construction and maintenance costs, with Raytheon requesting an additional US$200 million last year. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) last week called on the ministry to “stand tough in negotiating the price with the US,” adding that otherwise the radar could become “a pestering ‘money pit.’”
Despite the cost overruns, Taiwan has said it remains committed to the SRP.
According to last week’s AFP report, anger over rising costs nevertheless led to a decision to abandon plans to purchase a second radar system.
“The minister [of national defense] has said there won’t be another one,” an Air Force spokesman told AFP of the second radar, which would reportedly have been built near Greater Kaohsiung.
However, as reported in the C4ISR Journal and in an annual report by the Congressional Research Service, rather than being a recent decision taken by President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration, which critics have often accused of being soft on defense, Taiwan abandoned plans to acquire a second EWR in early 2007, when the Democratic Progressive Party was in power, though it had faced a KMT-dominated legislature at the time.
Part of the confusion comes from a misunderstanding of US congressional notifications on foreign arms sales, which do not oblige a client to purchase all the articles optioned in the notification, but only serve as a list of items that have been made available for purchase.
Asked to comment on the matter yesterday, a defense industry source confirmed that the decision not to procure a second EWR was made in 2007 and had nothing to do with recent developments.
“This is old news,” the source told the Taipei Times.
CLEAR BEFORE LEAVING: Two baby boys and a woman in her 30s tested negative before departing for Japan, but tests taken after their arrival came back postive Three Taiwanese tested positive for COVID-19 when they arrived in Japan earlier this month, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday as it reported a new imported case. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), head of the center, said that one of the three cases in Japan is a Taiwanese baby under the age of one, whose parents work in Japan. The infant came to Taiwan with his parents in January, and the parents paid for the family’s COVID-19 tests on Oct. 10 ahead of their planned return to Japan on Monday last week, he said. The boy and his
‘BACKED BY ENEMY’: CTi News is one of the few channels promoting unification, the New Party chairman said, while pro-Taiwan groups called it a propaganda outlet Pan-blue camp supporters yesterday lodged a protest at the National Communications Commission (NCC) against what they say is a possible move by the government to shut down CTi News, adding that politics should not interfere with freedom of the press. Protesters included representatives from the New Party, the Blue Sky Action Alliance, the 333 Political Party Alliance and other pan-blue groups. “We stand here today because CTi News is one of the few media outlets in Taiwan that is still willing to give groups supporting unification with China a voice. If the news channel is gone, there would only be
NEW YEAR’S EVE: Examples from South Korea and Japan show that 15 local COVID-19 infections could emerge in a short period if measures are not taken The Taipei City Government would cancel its New Year’s Eve Party and all large events if 15 or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 are reported in the city within a week, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday. Addressing the Taipei Cross Border E-Commerce Annual Convention, Ko said the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many uncertainties to society, and that e-commerce is on a path of no return and would continue to grow. Many countries have not effectively controlled their COVID-19 outbreaks, and although Taiwan implements strict border controls and there have been few inbound passengers, the pandemic is unlikely to end soon,
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday accused CTi News of trying to mislead the public by publishing a half-page advert claiming that the party interfered in the National Communications Commission’s (NCC) review of its application for a license renewal. CTi News is distorting the commission’s review process by painting it as a political conflict and turning it into a smear campaign against the DPP, party spokeswoman Yen Juo-fang (顏若芳) said. “The NCC is an independent body, which carries out reviews and makes decisions based on its members’ professional expertise, as well as regulations and legal requirements governing media operations,” Yen said. “We condemn