Taiwan defense ministry expects to receive a letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) from the US defense ministry early at the beginning of the next year
Taiwan is expecting the deal for the purchase of the US-made Sky Guardian unscrewed drones to be finalized by March next year, as the talks with Washington to procure the Paladin self-propelled howitzers are ongoing, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense told the Taipei Times on Thursday, December 23. The ministry expects to receive a letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) from the US defence ministry early at the beginning of the next year, the Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng said at the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee.
Letter expected in March
Kuo-Cheng’s response was issued after the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Liao Wan-Ju enquired about the delivery of the Atomic General MQ-9B Sky Guardian uncrewed drones. At the meeting, Taiwan air force Chief of Staff Huang Chih-Wei said that the letter from Washington was expected in March. Apart from the drones, Washington has also struck the deal to deliver M2A2T Abrams tanks, F-16V Block 70 jets, M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, extended-range air-to-ground missiles, ground-launched Harpoon missiles, field information communications systems, and Patriot III missile systems to Taiwan amid the threat of Chinese attack.
Taipei Times quoted the defence ministry as saying that at least four LOAs for the arms deals with the US have not been received and that the arms delivery could be delayed by at least 10 or more months. Head of the Ministry of National Defense’s Department of Strategic Planning, Lee Shih-Chiang, meanwhile stated that Taiwan’s defence ministry has estimated for the LOA of the Sky Guardian LOA to arrive early next year as the legislature has already approved the arms budget to procure the more drones for the next year. Although, he added, that the LOA for over 40 M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzers is still under discussion with the US defence ministry.
The LOA for the field information communications systems meanwhile has already been received, the Taiwan defence ministry said. With respect to the 40 M109A6 Paladin howitzers, there have been certain disagreements on price and the specifications of precision parts, said Lee Shih-Chiang.