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Taiwan bolsters coastal defence with new Harpoon deal

Boeing has been awarded a contract by the US Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) to build Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems (HCDSs) for Taiwan, the Pentagon announced on 2 March.

The award was announced on the day that a senior US delegation visited Taiwan to offer defensive support against what the island calls “rising” military threats from China.

The Department of Defense (DoD) said the USD498.3 million contract with Boeing covers the delivery to Taiwan of 100 HCDS launcher/transporter units, 25 radar units, and training equipment.

The contract, which is expected to be completed by December 2028, is supported through the US Foreign Military Sale (FMS) mechanism with USD244.1 million obligated to date, said the DoD.

The contract award is linked to an announcement by Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) in June 2021 in which it said it had agreed to procure from the US multiple HCDS assets for about USD1.4 billion to bolster the island's anti-invasion capability.

Janes reported that the assets will be deployed by the Republic of China Navy (RoCN) at the southern city of Kaohsiung.

In October 2020, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced that the US State Department had approved an FMS deal to provide Taiwan with up to 100 HCDSs and up to 400 RGM-84L-4 Harpoon Block II medium-range, surface-launched, anti-ship missiles along with related equipment and support.

The HCDS is intended to bolster Taiwan's medium and long-range precision fires capability. Janes has previously reported that Taiwan currently relies on the indigenous 45 km-range Thunderbolt-2000 multiple rocket launcher to repel amphibious vehicles and landing troops.

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