Taiwan has inked a NT$17.2 billion (US$546.5 million) deal to buy US-made bombs and missiles for fighter jets over nine years, the Ministry of National Defense said in a procurement notice yesterday.
According to the ministry’s notice, Taiwan’s defense mission and the US finalized the contract on Nov. 13, which specified that air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons would be furnished for military aircraft operating out of Taitung.
The purchase likely consists of munitions designed for use by Lockheed Martin F-16Vs, jets designated for the 7th Tactical Flight Wing.
Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times
The nation ordered 66 F-16Vs from the US, but there has been significant delays in their delivery. In May, Washington announced that the first batch is to be delivered late next year, instead of this year as originally planned, citing “complex developmental challenges.”
The ministry had said at the time that the plan to receive the last batch of the fighters by 2026 remained unchanged.
The notice provided no additional information on the type of aircraft the nation is to obtain.
Asked about the issue in July, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) said that the air force’s long-range precision strike capabilities depend on the acquisition of AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles.
The missiles’ range of more than 300km, stealth characteristics and damage potential would enhance the nation’s deterrence capability if the US approves their export, he said at the time.
However, the US had not approved the sale of AGM-158s or given any indications of its intentions, Wang said at the time.
Taipei has expressed its desire to obtain the weapon systems and prepared sufficient funds, he added.
Meanwhile, the ministry yesterday said Taiwan has signed a NT$9.47 billion deal for Orbital ATK’s 30mm Mk44 Bushmaster II cannon ammunition for CM-34 infantry fighting vehicles, which is to be delivered over six years.
A defense official said on condition of anonymity that the army urgently needs to replenish its stock of 30mm shells, as it expends large quantities of this type of ammunition and expects that larger amounts would be used in battle.
The order included high-explosive incendiary tracer rounds, multipurpose rounds and inert training rounds, the official said.
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