A letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) for US-made Sky Guardian uncrewed drones is expected in March next year, while talks with Washington on a deal for Paladin self-propelled howitzers is ongoing, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday.
Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) made the comments at a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee.
Asked by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Liao Wan-ju (廖婉汝) when the military would receive the LOA for the Atomic General MQ-9B Sky Guardian uncrewed drones, air force Chief of Staff Huang Chih-wei (黃志偉) said the letter was expected in March.
KMT Legislator Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) questioned the minister about other arms promised by Washington: M2A2T Abrams tanks, F-16V Block 70 jets, M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, extended-range air-to-ground missiles, ground-launched Harpoon missiles, field information communications systems and Patriot III missile systems.
The ministry had not received LOAs for at least four of the arms deals, Chiang said, adding that delivery could be set back by 10 or more months.
Lee Shih-Chiang (李世強), head of the Ministry of National Defense’s Department of Strategic Planning, said that the ministry had been able to estimate when it would receive the Sky Guardian LOA because the legislature had approved the drone budget for next year.
The ministry received the LOA for the field information communications systems and would move forward with that deal, Lee added.
The LOA for 40 M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzers is still under discussion due to disagreements on price and the specifications of precision aiming parts, the ministry said, adding that it expected a swift resolution of the disagreements and to receive the LOA soon.
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