Mon, Sep 11, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Army allocates NT$2.66b for artillery improvement

LEGACY SYSTEM:The army said it had been using an intercom system now to be replaced for more than four decades and spare parts were becoming scarce

By Aaron Tu and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, staff writer

The army plans to spend NT$2.66 billion (US$88.6 million) over the next four years to buy equipment that would improve the artillery’s precision engagement and communication capabilities, sources at the Ministry of National Defense said on Saturday.

The army is to buy multiple-role observation systems and second-generation artillery fire command and control systems, and replace aging AN/VIC-1 intercom systems for tanks, armored carriers and artillery vehicles, they said.

Although the Executive Yuan had temporarily withdrawn the general budget bill for review after the Cabinet’s reorganization last week, the ministry is confident that the budget items for the army would be retained, they added.

The multiple-role, laser-equipped observation systems are designed for target acquisition and fire adjustment by artillery and mortar forward observers, the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology said in a product brochure.

The observation system is an integrated platform that includes an integrated thermal imager, eye-safe laser rangefinder, azimuth-altitude instrument, GPS, digital compass and other equipment, it said.

The device is capable of operating in all weather conditions and can share digital targeting data, giving it additional battlefield surveillance capabilities, the institute said.

According to an internal army assessment, fielding the multiple-role observation system would augment the effectiveness of fire support, and reduce communication lags and human error, sources said.

The army is to buy 272 observation systems from next year to 2022 at an estimated cost of NT$1.96 billion, the sources said, adding that the first 14 units would be bought next year for NT$316 million.

The second-generation artillery fire command and control system has a monitor for improved data display, tactical and technical directors and a fire solution display.

The purchase of artillery fire command and control systems is to be carried out in the next two years and has been allocated a NT$47.46 million budget.

The AN/VIC-1 intercom systems with helmet-mounted headsets has been used by the army’s vehicle crews for nearly four decades and are worn out, the army said.

Declining performance and reliability, and scarcity of spare parts have made it necessary to completely retire and replace the AN/VIC-1 systems, it said.

An as-yet unspecified communication system will be obtained for tanks, armored carriers, self-propelled guns, AN/TWQ-1 Avenger air defense missile systems and Thunderbolt-2000 multiple-launch rocket systems, the army said.

The replacement would be purchased from next year to 2020 at an estimated cost of NT$644 million, it said.

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