Mon, Dec 23, 2019 - Page 3 News List

US has issued letter to seal arms deal, ministry says

By Huang Hsin-po and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

An F-16V jet takes off during the Han Kuang military exercises in Changhua County on Oct. 24.

Photo: Tu Chu-min, Taipei Times

Ministry of National Defense spokesman Major General Shih Shun-wen (史順文) on Saturday confirmed that the US military on Friday issued Taiwan a letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) for a package including fighter jets, tanks and anti-tank missiles.

The LOA signifies the importance the US government assigns to Taiwan’s national defense and that US-Taiwan relations would continue to be maintained to ensure stability and peace in the Taiwan Strait and the region, the ministry said.

The package, worth about NT$290 billion, would include 66 F-16C/D jets, as well as M1A2T tanks and new tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided (TOW) anti-armor missile systems, it said.

The military intends to step up recruitment of air force officers while temporarily reassigning experienced pilots so that they can become accustomed to the new jets, the ministry said.

The ministry expects to receive the first two F-16V jets by 2023, with all 66 planes delivered by 2026, it said, adding that together they would cost NT$240 billion.

The ministry said that it expects to receive the TOW systems, at a cost of NT$3.4 billion, by Oct. 31, 2025, and the M1A2T tanks, at a cost of NT$39.8 billion, by June 30, 2028.

This story has been amended since it was first published.

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