US President Donald Trump’s administration on Monday announced that it had approved a US$280 million arms sale package to Taiwan, with local experts saying the sale would upgrade military telecommunications and stimulate industrial development.
The package includes a Field Information Communications System, consisting of 154 communication nodes, 24 communication relays and eight network management systems, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a press release.
It also involves verification testing, personnel training and training equipment, an initial repair and return program, technical and logistics support services, and contractor-provided training, it said.
Photo: David Chang, EPA-EFE
The proposed sale is designed to provide mobile and secure communications, the agency said, adding that it has notified the US Congress as required.
The principal contractor is currently unknown due to a pending open competition for selection, it said.
Taipei welcomed the potential sale, with the Presidential Office thanking the US for its sixth arms sale this year, and the 11th by the Trump administration.
The sale once again highlights the US government’s substantive actions to fulfill its security commitments under the US’ Taiwan Relations Act and the “six assurances,” and will further strengthen the Taiwanese military’s strategic and defense needs, Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) said in the statement.
Taiwan is determined to be a force for good in safeguarding peace, stability, prosperity and development in the Indo-Pacific region through strong national defense and the deepening of security partnerships with the US and other like-minded countries, he added.
Following the notification procedure, the deal is expected to take effect after one month, the Ministry of National Defense said in a separate statement.
With the new system, Taiwan would be able to upgrade its Improved Mobile Subscriber Equipment (IMSE), Taiwan Security Analysis Center director Mei Fu-hsing (梅復興) said on Facebook yesterday.
The military first introduced the IMSE system in 1996, with the last procurement being made in 2001, he said.
The new system is expected to integrate different combat systems through the 154 nodes that would act as mobile telecommunication base stations, said Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲), director of the Division of Defense Strategy and Resources at the government-funded Institute for National Defense and Security Research.
The sale reflects the US’ commitment to developing military-grade broadband communications and encryption techniques with its allies, as stated in its National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, he said, adding that 5G technology is not yet applied in the military communications.
New demand would drive further research and development, similar to what Taiwan has done by investing in locally upgrading F-16 jets purchased from the US, Su said.
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