After F-16 Viper, US To Arm Taiwan With Deadly MQ-9B SkyGuardian Drones To Keep A Check On China – EurAsian Times
Rising tensions with China have resulted in Taiwan making every attempt to bolster its defensive capabilities. Arms deals with the US feature prominently in this endeavor. This string of contracts, which featured a high-profile procurement of F-16V (Viper) fighter aircraft by Taipei, could soon feature MQ-9B SkyGuardian drones.
Taiwan’s Tensions With China
Taiwan, which views itself as a sovereign state, has been facing increased military and economic pressure from Beijing, which considers the island as a breakaway province. China has not given up on the possible use of force to achieve “unification”.
In October, Taiwan’s defense minister Chiu Kuo-cheng noted that the island’s tensions with China have hit their worst in 40 years. He had also warned of the risk of an accidental strike happening between the two.
Chiu’s statement had come after China sent a “record number” of military aircraft into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) for four consecutive days.
The defense minister also warned that Beijing would be able to launch a full-scale invasion of Taiwan by 2025. The island has been building up its military arsenal, primarily with the help of the US.
Arms Supply From Washington
The US government, in 2020, had announced $5.1 billion in arms sales to democratically-ruled Taiwan. Going by what the US government told Congress, the country had announced weapons packages including a Field Information Communications System worth $280 million, four aerial drones worth $600 million, 100 Boeing Co-made Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems potentially valued up to $2.37 billion, and three weapons systems, which included sensors, missiles, and artillery that could have a total value of $1.8 billion.
Meet the F-16V: The Most Technologically Advanced 4th Generation Fighter in the World | Lockheed Martin
This also covered truck-based rocket launchers (called a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) made by Lockheed Martin Corp, AGM-84H Standoff Land Attack Missile Expanded Response (SLAM-ER) Missiles, and related equipment made by Boeing, along with six MS-110 Recce external sensor pods made by Collins Aerospace for jets.
In 2021, the Biden administration cleared its first arms sale to Taiwan. This potential deal, valued at $750 million, is aimed at selling 40 new M109 self-propelled howitzers and almost 1,700 kits to convert projectiles into more precise GPS-guided munitions, to Taiwan.
The proposed addition of the A6-model howitzers would bolster Taiwan’s aging inventory of earlier-model M109 self-propelled weapons. It would also improve the island democracy’s capability to blunt a Chinese land invasion.
This recent deal not only includes the weapons platforms and precision guidance kits, but also the logistical support and sustainment equipment that …….