Radar data will not be shared with US: MND

Staff writer, with CNA

Tue, Nov 06, 2012 - Page 3

Taiwan will not share information gathered by its new early-warning surveillance radar system with the US after the system is completed by the end of the year, a defense official said yesterday.

Located at a military base at Leshan (樂山) in Hsinchu County, the long-range system will be a closed network and the military “will not offer” information collected by it to the US, said Lieutenant General Liu Shi-lay (劉溪烈), an official with the unit at the Ministry of National Defense responsible for communication, electronics and information.

Liu made the remarks in response to concerns raised by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕) that the military would provide information collected by the radar system to the US.

At a hearing of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee, Lu also expressed concern that the system, which Taiwan purchased from the US, would be more beneficial to Washington than to Taipei.

Lu said the information collected by the radar system will be more valuable for the US, in the event of missile attacks by China.

However, the ministry has said that the radar system is necessary to help strengthen Taiwan’s combat readiness in case of Chinese attack, given that China currently has about 1,600 missiles targeting Taiwan.

On the possibility that the US may be able to intercept data collected by the system, Liu said the US would be unable to access any information unless Taiwan shares it.

At the same session, Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱) said Taiwan would purchase two Oliver Hazard Perry-Class frigates from the US in 2014, as part of its efforts to revive the navy’s aging fleet.

Kao said the decommissioned frigates would be purchased with key onboard equipment such as the SQR-19 Towed Array Sonar system, which allows long-range passive detection of enemy submarines.

“This is necessary,” Kao said responding to questions by KMT Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) on the issue of buying the two frigates from the US for more than NT$7 billion (US$239.36 million).

Lin also asked about the progress of a project to replace the engine blades on Taiwan’s fleet of Mirage 2000-5 combat aircraft.

Kao said the project is progressing and will be completed by the end of next year.

When asked whether the problem with the engine blades was related to the Mirage fighter jet crash in France last month that killed a Taiwanese pilot, Kao said the cause of the accident is still under investigation. Kao added that he had asked the air force to obtain information on Mirage fighter crashes throughout the world over the past five years to help investigate the death of the pilot, Colonel Wang Tung-yi (王同義), who was killed when his plane crashed in France during a training mission.

Kao also confirmed that a Taiwanese shipbuilding company commissioned by the navy had begun building a prototype missile boat, but declined to discuss any further details of the project.

He was answering Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍)’s question on whether the prototype will be outfitted with locally developed anti-ship missiles the Hsiung Feng (Brave Wind) III and Hsiung Feng II, as reported by local media.