Thu, Nov 14, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Government has received letter on tank sale: official

DRAFT DEAL:A source said that the ministry received only a draft, with the US expected to send a formal letter once the government confirms details of the agreement

Staff writer, with CNA

An M1A2 Abrams main battle tank is displayed in an undated photograph.

Photo courtesy of the US Army

The government has received a draft letter of offer and acceptance, a contract between the US military and a foreign customer, detailing an offer from the Pentagon to sell Taiwan more than 108 M1A2 Abrams tanks, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday.

Taiwan’s military has since 2000 been seeking to purchase new tanks from the US to augment its battle readiness.

In July, the US Department of State approved a possible sale to Taiwan of 108 M1A2 Abrams tanks, FIM-92 Stinger surface-to-air missiles and other related equipment worth more than US$2.2 billion.

At a joint hearing of the Finance Committee and the Foreign and National Defense Committee at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday, Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發) told lawmakers that the US had already sent a draft letter on the M1A2 deal to Taiwan.

However, he did not reveal when it was received.

Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Yang Hai-ming (楊海明) told lawmakers that the armed forces would review and sign the letter at the end of this month or early next month.

A military official with knowledge of the matter said that Taiwan received only a draft of the letter, and that Washington would send a formal letter after Taipei confirms details such as the items, services and price.

The US has sent technical personnel to Taiwan to make proposals regarding maintenance plants, oil depots and other related facilities, the official said.

According to the procedures released by the ministry on requesting arms sales from the US, Taiwan first sends a request according to its operational requirements.

Should such a request be approved, the US sends a letter of offer and acceptance to Taiwan detailing its offer.

Taipei then reviews the offer and completes a proposal for the procurement project before sending the letter back to Washington.

A number of US government agencies would then review the proposal before the US government notifies the US Congress of the sale and the US Department of Defense’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency makes the deal public.

Taiwan’s military has about 1,000 battle tanks, mostly aging M60A3 and CM-11 models.

Should the deal be completed, the M1A2, which is widely considered to be the most modern battle tank in the world due to its superior fire control system, would be assigned to the Sixth Army Corps, which is responsible for the security of northern Taiwan, where most central government agencies are located, the ministry said.

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