A US$2.5 billion contract to sell 30 AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters to the Taiwanese Army, sent to US Congress in October 2008 for approval, is on schedule, Defense News reported on Monday.
Since the notification, and especially in the wake of the announcement of a US$6.4 billion US arms sale to Taiwan earlier this year, there had been speculation that Beijing would pressure Boeing Co, the manufacturer of the AH-64, into canceling the deal.
Boeing, a subsidiary of McDonnell Douglas, was among the US firms singled out by Beijing as facing potential retaliatory sanctions for participating in the deal. It also sold Taiwan US$37 million in Harpoon training missiles.
A letter of offer and acceptance was signed last year between Taipei and Washington and a joint US government-Boeing team is expected to visit Taipei in the middle of next month to finalize the deal, the magazine reported, citing sources in the Taiwanese and US defense industries.
The helicopters are armed with Stinger air-to-air missiles and AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire missiles and are part of efforts by the Taiwanese Army to modernize its aviation capabilities.
US-Taiwan Business Council president Rupert Hammond-Chambers told Defense News there was no reason to “believe that the first of the Apaches won’t start arriving [in] late 2012 [or] early 2013 as ordered.”
“While China’s position on arms sales [to Taiwan] is well-known, the position of all contracting parties is this is a government-to-government sale ... [and] therefore there is no reason to believe that Boeing would not follow through on a transaction/order from the US Army irrespective of any pressure China may try to bring,” he said.
While Hammond-Chambers said he was unaware of pressure from Beijing regarding the helicopter sale, a local US defense industry source told Defense News that “I can ... guarantee that Boeing is getting heat in Beijing.”
In September last year, Boeing said China would require 3,770 new airplanes valued at about US$400 billion over the next 20 years. Boeing and its European rival Airbus are vying for a share of that market.
SURPRISE GUEST: Media reports identified the visitor as Admiral Michael Studeman, director of the J2, which oversees intelligence at the US military’s Indo-Pacific Command A two-star US Navy admiral overseeing US military intelligence in the Asia-Pacific region has made an unannounced visit to Taiwan, two sources told Reuters on Sunday. The sources, who include a Taiwanese official familiar with the situation, said the official was Rear Admiral Michael Studeman. They were speaking on condition of anonymity. After initially saying on Sunday night that it had no comment about the report, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it welcomed the visit of an “unidentified US official,” but declined to give more details because the trip “has not been made public.” Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) yesterday
AUTUMN STRUGGLE: The KMT and TPP set up stages on the rally’s sidelines, while Want Want boss Tsai Eng-meng said the DPP was curtailing freedom of speech Tens of thousands of people in Taipei yesterday took part in the “Autumn Struggle” (秋鬥) — an annual protest march by labor groups — but with this year’s focus on rejecting the government’s plan to allow imports of US pork containing ractopamine residue. “Against poisonous pork, against double standards, against a party-state,” the protesters, mostly wearing black, chanted in front of the rally’s main stage on Ketagalan Boulevard at about noon, before a parade set off at 2pm. Autumn Struggle spokesperson Lee Chien-cheng (李建誠) said this year’s march was divided into three teams, with the first team urging food safety and labor
DEFENSE: The construction of indigenous submarines will be a testament to the nation’s commitment to safeguard its sovereignty, President Tsai Ing-wen said President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday presided over a ceremony to mark the start of construction of the nation’s first indigenous submarine at state-run shipbuilder CSBC Corp’s (台灣國際造船) shipyard in Kaohsiung. “This submarine is an important part of allowing our navy to develop asymmetric warfare and to intimidate and block enemy ships from surrounding Taiwan’s main island,” Tsai said. “With the construction of the submarine to its future commission, we will certainly let the world know our persistence in safeguarding our sovereignty.” Tsai has made boosting the nation’s indigenous defense capacity a central pillar of her defense policy. She recently relaunched the
TIMELINE QUESTIONS: Chen Shih-chung said: ‘If anyone could assure us that we could get the shots in the first quarter of next year, we could set off firecrackers’ Taiwan has secured nearly 15 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported five new imported infections among travelers from Indonesia and the Philippines. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that Taiwan on Monday signed a procurement contract with a COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer and paid a deposit to secure 10 million doses. It was the first contract finalized with a manufacturer and negotiations are under way with three other vaccine makers, Chen said. With the more than 4.6 million doses that can be obtained through the COVAX platform —