The Ministry of National Defense (MND) yesterday thanked the US after Washington approved the sale of a US$180 million arms package, mainly involving a minelaying system.
The sale includes the M136 “Volcano” automated mine delivery system and the M977A4 HEMTT 10-tonne cargo trucks on which the system would be mounted, the ministry said.
Developed in the 1980s, the system can be mounted on ground vehicles or helicopters and uses prepackaged mine canisters that contain multiple anti-personnel and anti-tank mines that can be dispersed over large areas.
Photo: Screengrab from US Army website
The equipment would significantly boost Taiwan’s asymmetrical warfare capabilities, as it enables more efficient anti-tank mine placement, the ministry said.
The sale embodies Washington’s commitment to ensuring that Taiwan can defend itself, as stated by the Taiwan Relations Act and the “six assurances,” the ministry said, expressing its “sincere gratitude” to the US.
The ministry added that arms sales are likely to be formally confirmed by the US Congress within a month.
Photo: Screengrab from US Army website
The Executive Yuan approved the proposal to buy the minelaying system last year, an unnamed military source told the Central News Agency earlier this year.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the latest deal is the eighth arms sale to Taiwan by the administration of US President Joe Biden, which “fully demonstrates the US government’s high regard for Taiwan’s defense capabilities.”
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced the proposed sale on Wednesday.
“The proposed sale will improve the recipient’s capability to meet current and future threats by providing a credible force capable of deterring adversaries and participating in regional operations,” the agency said in a statement.
The weapons package also includes M87A1 anti-tank munitions, M88 canister training munitions and M89 training munitions, as well as related logistics support and technical assistance.
According to the US Federal Procurement Data System, there are plans to supply Taiwan with the International Field Artillery Tactical Data System (IFATDS), the international version of the US Army’s Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System.
The system increases the lethality of the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems by providing a secure communications system combining information from sources across the battlefield for a better operating picture and greater situational awareness.
The Ukrainian-language Ukrayinska Pravda news site has reported that Kyiv would purchase 18 sets of IFATDS from the US.
The purchase would be conducted using funds from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, the report said.
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