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Arms deal promises missile boost for ROCAF

Photo: Specially painted F-16B 6814 (22nd TFG) at Chiayi on June 29. Travis Chuang

The US State Department has approved arms sales to Taiwan worth a total of $1.4bn. The package represents the first arms deal to the self-governing island under the Trump administration.
Much of the coverage of the deal has focused on the possible reaction from Beijing, at a time of increasing tensions in the region. The backdrop to this includes North Korea’s nuclear weapons developments, and China’s actions in the disputed South China Sea.
The sale to Taiwan comprises six major items, including technical support for early warning radar, anti-radiation missiles, torpedoes and components for SM-2 missiles.

The sales are not yet a done deal. But with the US legally obligated to sell weapons to Taiwan for its self-defence, it is likely that Congress will green-light them within the mandated 30-day period.

In terms of the Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF) the air arm can expect to receive 56 AGM-154C Joint Stand-Off Weapons (JSOW). The total estimated programme cost is $185.5m and would include JSOW integration, captive flight vehicles, dummy training missiles, missile containers, support and test equipment, and Joint Mission Planning System updates.

The State Department approved a possible Foreign Military Sale of 50 AGM-88B High-speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARM) and ten AGM-88B Training HARMs. This request also includes HARM integration, LAU-118A launchers, missile containers, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, and Joint Mission Planning System updates. The total estimated programme cost is $147.5m.

ROCAF ‘colour birds’
The ROCAF recently applied special paint schemes to two F-16s in order to commemorate the 80th anniversary of victory in the Second Sino-Japanese War. The 455th Tactical Fighter Wing at Chiayi AB prepared F-16A 6609 (21st Tactical Fighter Group) and F-16B 6814 (22nd TFG) for the occasion. Both jets are planned to show up at the Air Force Open House on August 12, hosted by the ROCAF Academy at Gangshan AB.

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