MND ISSUES POSITION PAPER ON ARMS PROCUREMENT PLAN
Taipei, June 3 (CNA) The Ministry of National Defense (MND) issued a position paper Thursday to solicit public support for its three important arms procurement projects which will cost an estimated NT$610.8 billion (US$18.23 billion).
This marked the first time in recent memory that the MND has ever issued a position paper to enlist public support for the its weaponry purchase plans.
The ministry issued the position paper after many lawmakers from across the political spectrum questioned the high cost of the procurement projects.
The Cabinet passed the MND-proposed budget plan for purchasing anti-missile defense systems, anti-submarine aircraft and diesel-powered submarines from the United States. The US$18.23 billion budget proposal needs the opposition-controlled legislature's approval.
The MND said in its position paper that in the face of mainland China's mounting military threat, the military needs those new weapons to beef up its defense capabilities.
The proposed budget would cover six sets of Patriot Advanced Capability III anti-missile systems, eight conventional submarines and 12 P-3C anti-submarine aircraft.
The Patriot missiles would cost NT$145 billion (US$4.3 billion) , the MND position paper said, adding that this purchase project will be carried out from 2005 to 2012. Installation of the new Patriot anti-missile defense systems will help deter mainland Chinese missile attacks, the MND said.
Meanwhile, the MND position paper said, the procurement of eight conventional submarines will cost NT$412 billion (US$12.3 billion) to be carried out from 2005 to 2019, and the purchase of 12 anti-submarine aircraft will need NT$53 billion (US$1.5 billion) to be carried out from 2005 to 2011.
These purchase projects will help enhance the armed forced combined services combat capabilities and as well as their maritime and aerial monitoring and reconnaissance abilities.
(By Sofia Wu)
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