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Taiwan seeks bolstered Patriot air-defence capability

The US has announced a potential USD100 million deal to enhance Taiwan's Patriot air-defence system. (Lockheed Martin)

The US Department of State has approved a potential USD100 million Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to Taiwan in support of enhancements to the island's Lockheed Martin Patriot air-defence system.

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in a notice on 7 February that the contract, which still requires US Congress approval, runs for five years and comprises “engineering services support, designed to sustain, maintain, and improve” Taiwan's Patriot systems.

It added that the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO) – Taiwan's principal representative office in the US – has requested to procure the services to support its participation in the Patriot International Engineering Services Program (IESP) and Field Surveillance Program (FSP).

Under the IESP, Patriot operators share development costs for system upgrades, while the FSP is intended to confirm the reliability and readiness of the enhanced Patriot missiles. The DSCA notice stated that participation in the programmes is a US government requirement.

The notice added that the proposed FMS sale will help sustain Taiwan's missile “density and ensure readiness for air operations”.

“The recipient will use this capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen homeland defence. The recipient will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment and services into its armed forces,” it added.

Raytheon and Lockheed Martin are prime contractors.

Welcoming the FMS deal, Rupert Hammond-Chambers, the president of the US-Taiwan Business Council, said the contract is crucial to maintain Taiwan's military capability.

He also called on the US government to seek to integrate Taiwan's capabilities into the US regional missile defence architecture including co-operation with Japan and Australia.

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