Taiwan aims to replace US self-propelled artillery amid contract stalemate

Taiwan’s Self-Defense Forces indicated that they were looking for a replacement for the US M109A6 cannon after Washington announced that the purchase would be many years late.

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“Due to an overloaded production line, we have been notified that delivery of the M109A6 self-propelled artillery systems will be delayed until until 2026. Officials are considering precision long-range missile systems, such as the High Mobility Rocket System (HIMARS), as a replacement “Taiwan’s military agency stated today in a statement.

This condition’s cause has not been revealed. The statement came as the US upped military aid to Ukraine and sent a slew of heavy weapons in the country’s battle with Russia. Washington agreed to send heavy equipment to Ukraine last month, including 18 howitzers and 40,000 155 millimetre ammunition. Officials in the United States have not responded to the information.

The US State Department approved a prospective contract in August 2021 to sell Taiwan the 155mm calibre M109A6 Paladin Medium Self-propelled Gun System and accompanying equipment for an estimated $750 million. According to Taiwanese media, the first Paladin systems could be delivered to the island’s defence forces as early as 2023. Previously, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States proposed that the United States sell 40 Paladin artillery systems, 20 M999A2 artillery ammunition logistics vehicles, an advanced artillery tactical data system (AFATDS), 5 vehicles tow truck M88A2 Hercules, 5 mounts for 12.7 mm machine guns, 1,698 precision guides (PGKs), and a variety of associated equipment. The contract also includes training and technical assistance for Taiwan’s self-defense forces, as well as the upgrade of the island’s current artillery systems.

China views Taiwan to be part of its territory that needs to be reclaimed, and it is prepared to use force if necessary.

The tensions between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have recently risen. In recent years, China’s military has increased military pressure on Taiwan through both regular and unconventional means. Aside from flights close to the island with a record-breaking number of aircraft, the Chinese military also conducted many landing exercises to occupy the coast near Taiwan. Even though the United States does not have formal relations with the island of Taiwan, it is the major provider of weapons for the country’s defence. US authorities are seeking to modernise Taiwan’s self-defense forces in order to make it more difficult for the Chinese military to attack the island.

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