Biden administration authorizes its first arms package for Taiwan

The Biden administration approved its first weapons sale to Taiwan on Wednesday (August 4) for around US$750 million, which comprises M109A6 self-propelled howitzers and related equipment.

According to a Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) press release, the US State Department has approved the potential sale of 40 M109A6 Paladins, 20 M992A2 Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicles, one Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System, five M88A2 Hercules vehicles, five M2.50 caliber machine guns, and 1,698 multi-option, precision guidance kits.

M109A6/M992A2 overhaul, conversion, and refurbishment services, as well as global positioning system receivers, AN/VVS night driver’s viewers, and other technical support and equipment, are all included in the deal.

According to the DSCA, the potential deal “will contribute to the modernization of (Taiwan’s) self-propelled howitzer fleet, enhancing its ability to meet current and future threats,” as well as aid Taiwan in “updating its military capability while further enhancing interoperability with the US and other allies.” The East Asian country will be able to integrate these systems into its armed forces with relative ease, according to the agency, and the sale will not alter the regional military balance.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan congratulated the US government on Thursday (August 5) for its commitment to the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Assurances. It added that this is the first time the Biden administration has announced an arms sale to Taiwan, and that it demonstrates that Washington “has always attached great importance to Taiwan’s defense capabilities and has continued its policy of normalizing arms sales to Taiwan in recent years.”

The ministry also stated that Taiwan will resolutely strengthen its national defense to “protect its citizens’ lives, property, and free and democratic way of life,” as well as maintain security in the Taiwan Strait and “contribute to the long-term peace, stability, and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region.”

According to Army Technology, the M109A6 is operated by a four-man crew and is capable of receiving data, aiming and firing, and moving to a different area without the need for external technological help. This allows the Paladin to defend itself against hostile retaliation.

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