The acquisition of new main battle tanks, next-generation guided missile frigates and armed uncrewed aerial vehicles are high on the Taiwanese military’s shopping list this year.
They are on top of ongoing deals for infantry fighting vehicles and heavy long-range submarine-launched torpedoes, as well as Taiwan’s multibillion-dollar program to upgrade its F-16 jet fighter fleet.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has reportedly ordered the military to prioritize the development and deployment of air defense systems, including the Tien Kung III and Hsiung Feng III hypersonic anti-tactical ballistic missile, as well as the US-made MIM-104F Patriot surface-to-air missile, to respond to the changing threats facing the self-ruled island.
The ministry has sped up mass production of the Tien Kung III, whose delivery date has been pushed up to 2022, two years ahead of the original schedule, according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency.
Production of the Tien Kung III system will replace Taiwan’s stocks of MIM-23 Hawk missiles. Previously, the US had given Taiwan the option of upgrading the Hawk, buying the NASAMS missile or buying the THAAD missile system to replace their Hawks. But Taiwan ultimately decided to pursue the development of indigenous weapons to meet its needs.
The Taiwanese army will replace the fiber-optic cables in its information infrastructure with satellite equipment to augment the security and efficiency of command, control and communications.
Multiple-layered deterrence, defending littoral seas and preventing an adversary from establishing beachheads are among the key defense strategies acceding to a report submitted to the island’s Legislative Yuan.