The government yesterday thanked the US after it approved the sale of up to US$428 million of spare parts to replenish stocks for military aircraft and support air defenses.
The package is to help the air force maintain aircraft combat readiness in the face of Beijing’s gray-zone tactics, which include sending warplanes into the nation’s air defense identification zone, the Ministry of National Defense said in a statement.
It also exemplified Washington’s commitment to ensure that Taiwan has the capability to defend itself, as stated in the Taiwan Relations Act and the “six assurances,” the ministry said, expressing its “sincere gratitude” for the deal.
The sales are likely to be formally confirmed by the US Congress in one month, it said.
The statement came after the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency on Tuesday announced two arms sales to Taiwan, one for standard spare parts, and another for non-standard spare parts and related equipment worth US$330 million and US$98 million respectively.
The two packages are meant to replenish “spare parts, consumables and accessories,” and provide “repair and replacement support for the F-16, C-130, Indigenous Defense Fighter, and all other aircraft and systems or subsystems of US origin, as well as other related elements of logistics and program support,” the US agency said.
The proposed sales are meant to “contribute to the sustainment of the recipient’s aerial fleet, enhancing its ability to meet current and future threats while providing defensive and transport capabilities critical to regional security,” it said.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a separate statement that the package was Washington’s seventh such deal under US President Joe Biden, which “fully demonstrated the US government’s high regard for Taiwan’s defense capabilities.”
Amid increasing Chinese aggression, Taiwan would continue to improve its defensive capabilities and, through close security cooperation with the US, maintain peace in the Taiwan Strait and contribute to the long-term peace, stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region, it said.
Meanwhile, a defense official yesterday confirmed the early delivery of AGM-88 high-speed anti-radiation missiles purchased from the US in 2017.
The 50 missiles originally set for delivery next year “are already in Taiwan,” Department of Strategic Planning head Lee Shi-chiang (李世強) said at the legislature in Taipei.
Asked whether they are the updated AGM-88E model with an extended range of up to 150km, Air Force Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Huang Chih-wei (黃志偉) said he could not comment on specifics.
The missiles are “slightly better than those currently used by the US military,” Huang said.
An additional 250 shoulder-fired Stinger missiles are also set for delivery this year, with another 250 planned for 2025, Lee said, adding that the US has promised to deliver the full 500 on or ahead of schedule.
However, delivery of TOW 2B anti-tank missiles has been delayed from their scheduled arrival this quarter, Lee said.
Delivery is to begin next year and would be completed in 2024 at the latest, he said.
A Javelin missile purchase is proceeding according to schedule, Lee said.
The only other delay involves AGM-154C joint standoff weapons for the air force, which are to arrive in 2025 or 2026 instead of next year, Lee said.
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