The backlog of US arms sales to Taiwan is worth US$19.17 billion, with F-16s and Abrams tanks making up more than 50 percent of the value, the Cato Institute said in a study published on Monday.
The study drew data from the US Department of Defense’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
Washington has not released detailed information on delayed arms shipments.
Photo: Ann Wang, Reuters
The Cato Institute broke down the arms backlog into “traditional,” “asymmetric” and “munition” weapons categories and capabilities, with traditional being 63.2 percent of the total, asymmetric comprising 22 percent and munitions 14.8 percent, the study said.
The undelivered traditional capabilities, totaling US$12.113 billion, mainly consisted of US$8 billion of F-16C/D Block 70 jets and US$2 billion of M1A2T Abrams tanks, it said.
The undelivered traditional capabilities also included M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzers comprising 3.9 percent of the total backlog, while infrared search and track systems for F-16s comprised 2.6 percent and MK 15 Phalanx close-in weapon systems comprised 2.2 percent, it said.
The traditional capabilities delayed also included MS-110 jet reconnaissance pods (1.9 percent) and AN/SLQ-32 electronic warfare systems for Keelung-class destroyers (0.4 percent), the study said.
However, the backlogged traditional systems would have imposed a high cost on Taiwan’s limited defense resources and would be of “minimal utility” in fighting the Chinese the People’s Liberation Army, it said.
The US should prioritize the delivery of asymmetric capabilities and ammunition “to keep Taipei from running out of reloads quickly in a conflict,” the study said.
The asymmetric capabilities, worth US$4.221 billion, included Harpoon coastal defense systems totaling US$2.37 billion, or 12.4 percent of the backlog, it said.
The undelivered asymmetric capabilities also included MQ-9B uncrewed aerial vehicles comprising 3.1 percent of the backlog and High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems comprising 2.3 percent, it said.
Air-launched Harpoon missiles comprised 1.9 percent of the backlog, Field Information Communication Systems comprised 1.5 percent and Volcano anti-tank mining systems comprised 0.9 percent, it added.
Munitions not yet delivered totaled US$2.835 billion, including AGM-84H SLAM-ER missiles worth US$1.008 billion, or 5.3 percent of the backlog, as well as F-16 munitions comprising 3.2 percent, it said.
In addition, MK 48 heavyweight torpedoes, 30mm rounds, AGM-154C Joint Standoff Weapons, lightweight torpedoes and conversion kits, and AIM-9X Block II missiles accounted for 2.2 percent, 2.2 percent, 1.7 percent, 1 percent, 0.9 percent and 0.4 percent of the backlog respectively, the study said.
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