Mon, Apr 16, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Replacing old army intercoms to cost NT$830m

By Lo Tien-pin and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Ministry of National Defense’s second-phase modernization program for intercom systems of tanks, armored personnel carriers and self-propelled artillery pieces is to cost an estimated NT$830 million (US$28.4 million) until the end of the year, sources said on Saturday.

The program is a continuation of a program that ran from 2008 to 2015 to modernize the aging intercom units of the army’s armored vehicles, which furnished NT$570.92 million for 1,630 new intercom systems, for an average of NT$350,000 per unit.

The program was announced after the Control Yuan issued a correction measure over the obsolescence of the intercoms and the military also acknowledged that the old equipment compromised combat efficiency and crew safety.

The first program did not replace all outdated systems and the army still requires another 1,267 intercom units to meet operational needs, a source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

In response, the ministry initiated the new program, which is to replace armored vehicle intercom systems for the army, as well as the marine corps and the military police, the source said.

However, the new program’s calculated average cost per unit of NT$510,000 represents an increase of NT$160,000 over the old program, the source said, adding that the expenditure appears too high and the ministry might not have designed the program correctly.

The ministry denied that the increased cost reflects flaws in the program’s design.

The increased per-unit cost reflects the new program’s wider scope of buying new intercom systems while also upgrading units that were ordered in 2008 and is adjusted for inflation, it said.

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