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Taiwan to seek ‘alternative options' after delay to Paladin procurement

Taiwan's MND said on 2 May that its procurement of M109A6 SPHs (pictured) has been delayed. The US government approved the sale in August 2021. (Tennessee National Guard Public)

Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) said in a statement on 2 May that its procurement of 155 mm M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzers (SPHs) from the United States has been delayed and that it will now seek “alternative options” to meet the capability requirement.

A statement by the MND on 2 May said Taiwan's acquisition of the M109A6 SPH had been impacted by a “crowded” production line. It added, “Other precise and long-range options are currently under careful evaluation.”

The MND did not elaborate but said that following its evaluations of options to replace the M109A6 it will submit to parliament a new budgetary proposal for the procurement.

The state-run Central News Agency (CNA) said the US government had told the MND that current production schedules meant the M109A6 could not be delivered to Taiwan until 2026.

Citing the MND, the CNA also reported that the US had offered to instead supply Taiwan with weapons including Lockheed Martin's M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS).

The US Department of State approved Taiwan's procurement of the 40 M109A6 SPHs alongside other equipment in August 2021 at an estimated cost of USD750 million.

Under the proposed Foreign Military Sale (FMS) – the first to be issued for Taiwan under the administration of US President Joe Biden – the prime contractor was BAE Systems, with deliveries of an initial eight systems reportedly expected from 2023.

Prior to this FMS, in October 2020 the US approved the sale of 11 HIMARS launchers and related equipment to Taiwan.

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