Taiwan is to buy 400 Harpoon Block II missiles and 100 Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems in one batch by 2028, not separately as originally intended, Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) said yesterday.
Chiu made the statement in response to media queries before attending a session at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, adding that the decision was made in light of the rising threat from China, along with other considerations.
The Block II anti-ship missiles would supplement the capabilities of other missiles in service, he said.
Washington in October last year approved a possible sale to Taiwan of up to 100 Harpoon coastal defense systems and related equipment for about US$2.37 billion.
The package is to include 400 RGM-84L-4 Harpoon Block II surface-launched missiles, four RTM-84L-4 Harpoon Block II exercise missiles, 411 containers, 100 Harpoon Coastal Defense System launcher transporter units, 25 radar trucks and related logistics services and support, the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency said last year.
Meanwhile, the first indigenous Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) to emerge from production took to the skies at Ching Chuan Kang Air Base in Taichung on Thursday.
Manufactured by the partially government owned Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC), the trainer with serial number 11003 made its debut test flight accompanied by one of the company’s two AJT prototypes.
A Ministry of National Defense report delivered to the Legislature in September said that the AIDC plans to complete the production of two AJTs by the end of this year.
Sixty-six AJTs are expected to be delivered to the military by 2026, the report said.
The AJT project was initiated in 2017 to replace the military’s decades-old AT-3 trainer aircraft and F-5E/F lead-in fighter trainers.
Two AJT prototypes have since been built, and public test flights of the two planes were conducted last year in June and December.
The development of the jet trainer, codenamed Yung Ying or “Brave Eagle,” was carried out as part of the country’s efforts to become more militarily self reliant.
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