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Army Equipment - Modernization

The Taiwan Army's equipment modernization effort has focused on improving mobility and fire power, primarily through the acquisition of tanks, helicopters, and short-range air defense missiles. The Taiwan Army's equipment modernization effort was focused in the 1990s on improving mobility and fire power, primarily through the acquisition of tanks, helicopters, and short-range air defense missiles. Taiwan also acquired 42 AH-1W Cobra attack and 26 OH-58D Kiowa scout helicopters.

The primary weapon systems of the ROC ground forces include M48H and M60A3 tanks, and by 2005 Taiwan would an armor force of about 1,500 tanks. In June 1996 the US annunced an agreement for selling Taiwan 300 M60A3 main battle tanks with thermal sights and 105mm gun for $223 million. In August 1997 it was announced that the United States would transfer 180 surplus M60A3 tanks to Taiwan over the following 12 months in a deal worth about $1 million per vehicle. Taiwan acquired a total of 480 M-60A3 tanks; they would join an already large tank force consisting of some 450 M-48H and 300 M-48A5 medium tanks and over 1,000 much older M-41 and M-24 light tanks (most of which are said to be in storage). In late 1998 there was some informal discussion of an American sale of a number of surplus M-1 Abrams tanks (armed with the 105mm gun) at a unit price of around US$1.4 million, but this scheme remained speculative.

Other major equipment items include M109 and M110 self-propelled artillery; M113, V-150, and CM-21 armored personnel carriers; UH-1H helicopters; Kung-feng 6A rocket systems; TOW-type anti-tank guided weapons; Chaparral SP, Hawk, Tien-kung (Sky Bow), and Tien-chien (Sky Sword) air defense missile systems; as well as Hsiung-feng I and Hsiung-feng II anti-ship missile systems. Taiwan also has acquired 42 AH-1W Cobra attack and 26 OH-58D Kiowa scout helicopters.

The ROC Army would spend over US$385 million to deploy 200 fourth-generation Patriot missiles-the most improved version. The only surface-to-air radar-guided anti-missile system ever tested in combat, Patriot missiles were used in the 1991 Persian Gulf War to defend against Scud missile attacks. The 200 Patriot missiles would be installed in three missile batteries in northern Taiwan.

After deferring a decision on Taiwans request for attack helicopters, the Bush Administration, in May 2002, approved the request, and Taiwan began negotiations on 30 AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopters by Boeing. Afterwards, Taiwan also considered the AH-1Z Cobra helicopters by Bell.

In mid-2005 Taiwan began negotiations with US companies to purchase attack and transport helicopters and upgrade the AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters. Taiwan had a requirement for 35 transport helicopters and 30 attack and transport helicopters. Taiwan and Bell Helicopter-Textron discussed co-manufacturing UH-1Y Huey light utility and AH-1Z King Cobra attack helicopters. The UH-1Y would replace some of the Army's Bell UH-1Hs, which have been in service since the 1970s. Bell also proposed upgrading the Army's 62 Bell AH-1W Super Cobras, acquired in the 1990s, to AH-1Z configuration. Sikorsky proposed the UH-60 Black Hawk to replace Taiwan's UH-1H fleet. Boeing proposed the AH-64D Apache Longbow to fulfil the attack helicopter requirement.

In April 2007, Taiwans military decided to procure 30 Apaches. The first six of 30 Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters ordered from the US were delivered in December 2013 under the Tian Ying, or Sky Eagle program. Taiwan was the first international customer for the Guardian model, which attained initial operating capability (IOC) in the US Army in November 2013.

In March 2019 Taiwan proposed to purchase M1A2 from the United States. Taiwan submitted a Letter of Request for the price of the package to the United States. The time is earlier than the case of the F-16V. The military expected the possibility of a formal reply from the US in the middle of this year. The top management said that since the M1 tank production line has been stopped, if there is demand in all countries, it will be carried out on the new machine, and the latest M1A2 sep v3 version will be purchased. The M1A2X is a special configuration of the M1A2C, the latest variant of Abrams tanks in production.

It is pointed out that the military's relevant budget for the M1A2 case had been included in the confidential budget this year. If the US officially agrees, the relevant budget may be made public. The M1A2s would be deployed into two armored battalions under the command of the Sixth Army Corps, which is based in Taoyuan, northern Taiwan. The military estimates internally that if the total number is 108 for the two battalions, the total price will be nearly 20 billion yuan. A military official has said the U.S. will announce the sale of M1A2X battle tanks to Taiwan within the next three months.

References

  • Taiwan's Armed Forces @ Periscope
  • Proposed Arms Transfers to Taiwan: 1993 to Present

  • New tanks stimulate confidence China News [Taiwan] 18 August 1999 -- The Army Readiness Ordinance Center deep in the mountains of central Taiwan is a sprawling complex of defense factories, about 200 kilometers south of Taipei. So far, 50 of Taiwan's roughly 400 M-41s have undergone the overhaul, which costs about 20 million Taiwan dollars (U.S. US$621,000) per tank.
  • REMODELED TANKS DISPLAY FIREPOWER IN CENTRAL TAIWAN China News [Taiwan] 17 August 1999 -- Fifty remodeled M41D tanks displayed their firepower and improved capabilities at a base in Nantou County's Chichi.
  • Army goes shopping for new tank fleet China News [Taiwan] 17 August 1999 -- Taiwan's military has announced the Army's "Speed Leopard" plan to procure up to 1,000 tanks and armored vehicles over the next five to 10 years. U.S.-made M113 and Taiwan-made CM21 should be retired within five to 10 years. The new generation of armored vehicles would be wheeled.



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