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.
ADEQUATE COVERAGE: New Taipei City, which has more than 9,500 people under home quarantine, said it would add another 450 rooms at its disease prevention hotels The Taipei City Government has added a fourth designated disease prevention hotel, allowing people under 14-day home quarantine to isolate themselves from NT$5,000 per day, it said yesterday. The Taipei Department of Information and Tourism launched the first disease prevention hotel on Feb. 21 to accommodate travelers without a place to stay during mandatory home isolation or quarantine, and for people who want to separate themselves from their family members or roommates during quarantine. The department said that as of yesterday, more than 120 travelers have stayed at one of the city’s three disease prevention hotels, and their 178 rooms are nearly
MISINFORMATION: The 100,000 masks given to ally Paraguay were bought in other Latin American nations, not made in Taiwan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Taiwan has not yet reached a point where it can export masks to diplomatic allies amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, dismissing as misinformation online reports that it gave away masks to curry favor with a diplomatic ally. “Taiwan provides med-ical aid to diplomatic allies based upon specific circumstances,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said, adding that the supplements donated by Taiwan were all purchased locally in allied countries, in accordance with their needs. “The time is not yet ripe” for Taiwan to export medical supplies, such as surgical masks, to diplomatic allies, until
An improvised protective device for use when intubating patients designed by Taiwanese doctor Lai Hsien-yung (賴賢勇) is being adopted in the Philippines to help doctors there stay safe amid the worsening COVID-19 pandemic. “We made this acrylic aerosol box for my sister Dra. Frances Legaspi for Antipolo Doctors Hospital. Credits to Dr Lai Hsien-yung for the concept and design,” Anton Legaspi, whose family owns a business that makes customized designs, said on Facebook on Monday. The hospital is in Antipolo, about 25km east of Manila. Legaspi’s post was accompanied by several photographs of the box and a short demonstration video
All state-run columbariums must strictly regulate how many visitors they host during Tomb Sweeping Day on Saturday next week to curb the spread of COVID-19, New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) said yesterday. Hou asked people to use online worshipping services instead. Electronic “tomb sweeping” systems, which display a virtual altar for people to make offerings and say prayers, can reduce crowd sizes at columbariums, Hou said during a site visit to Shulin Life Memorial Hall (樹林生命紀念館), a columbarium in the city’s Shulin Disrict (樹林). Measures for admission control would be strictly implemented in state-run columbariums, Hou said, pointing to the Shulin