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Taiwan - Patriot

Aside from hardening hangars and the ability to quickly repair runways, Taiwan's airbases rely mostly on PAC-2 and PAC-3 missile interceptors for protection against a missile attack. Not only are the missiles costly (about US$9 million each), but the two-to-one ratio to ensure the interception of an incoming SRBM makes it doubly so. Still, the bulk of US arms sales intended for Taiwan in recent years -- at least in dollar terms -- consists of such missiles.

Central to Taiwan’s SAM network are the area air defense systems, which include the long-range U.S.-produced Patriot PAC-2 Modified Air Defense System (MADS), the long-range Taiwan-produced Tien Kung-I (TK-I) and Tien Kung II (TK-II), and medium-range U.S.-produced Improved Homing All-the-Way Killer (I- HAWK). In addition to providing protection for key strategic installations, Taiwan positions several of these systems on outer islands to provide coverage along key air avenues of approach from the mainland. The MND said if its plan to purchase six Patriot PAC III batteries can clear the legislature smoothly, 70 percent of Taiwan's population and more than 60 percent of its industrial production facilities will be under the theater missile defense system's protection.

Taiwan already had Patriot II anti-missile batteries in place to protect Taipei and Kaohsiung. Meanwhile, the manufac turer of Patriot, the Raytheon Company, is cooperating with Taiwanese companies to co-produce a modified Patriot system for Taiwan called MADS, or Modified Air Defense System. But the intercept success rate of the Patriot II against old SCUD missiles was only about ten percent, while the improved PAC III has an estimated SCUD kill rate of around thirty percent.

During the March 20, 2004 presidential election, Taiwan voters were offered the chance to vote on two referendum ballot questions, the first of which asked whether Taiwan should acquire "more advanced anti-missile weapons" should China refuse to withdraw its missiles aimed at Taiwan. Of the 7.45 million votes cast, 91.8 percent supported the purchase of improved missile-defense systems, while 8.2 percent were opposed. But, the referendum itself failed to attract the fifty percent of 16.5 million eligible voters required by Article 30 of the Referendum Law to be considered valid and, thus, under the terms of Article 30, was deemed "rejected."

Because the requisite 50 percent threshold was not reached, many observers concluded the missile-defense referendum was a non-binding, legal nullity. Many within the KMT believed the failed referendum bars the government from purchasing upgraded missile defenses. Under Article 30 of Taiwan's Referendum Law, if less than 50 percent of eligible voters participate, the referendum in question is "deemed rejected" (junwei foujue). Under Article 30, insufficient voter turnout is equivalent to a "rejection" of the referendum. Because the missile-defense referendum was "rejected," the government was barred from purchasing upgraded missile defenses.

Many said the referendum result is not a significant legal obstacle to the LY passing authorizing legislation for the purchase of upgraded missile defenses, and it is likely the KMT is using the referendum as a convenient excuse to hold up defense spending. That may be so; it has been over a year since the result of the referendum was known, and yet no one from the Pan-Blue side had managed to put this issue before the Supreme Judicial Council for an advisory opinion.

Taiwan will purchase six Patriot PAC-3 missile batteries from the United States under a 10-year weaponry system procurement plan, a high ranking Ministry of National Defense (MND) official said 03 March 2005. The purchase of the six Patriot PAC-3 batteries -- among the priorities in the NT$500 billion (US$15.06 billion) 10-year weaponry system procurement plan -- is scheduled to be fulfilled in 15 years beginning next year, Vice Minister of Defense Chen Chao-min said at the Legislative Yuan. Reporting on the 10-year procurement plan at the Legislative Yuan Committee of National Defense Affairs, Chen said that while the exact price of the six Patriot batteries is still under negotiation, the execution of related budget is scheduled to begin in 2005, adding that all the six missile batteries are expected to be delivered and deployed before 2019. As the U.S. military has agreed to deduct the research and development cost from the Patriot PAC III price to be offered to Taiwan, the report said, each interceptor will carry a price tag of about US$3.01 million, lower than the US$3.2 million price offered to the Netherlands and Japan.

The PAC-3 missile fire units and 330 missiles approved by the US government in 2008 are scheduled for delivery in August 2014. The expensive PAC-3 sales make sense only if they are intended to protect systems that are critical to Taiwan's defense. Aside from command-and-control, those systems are the Air Force. This means that absent substantial investments in the modernization of its fleet of aircraft -- more advanced F-16s or some alternative -- Taiwan would be spending billions of dollars on a missile defense system that, in the end, would be close to worthless.

On January 29, 2010 the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States of 114 PATRIOT Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missiles, 3 AN/MPQ-65 Radar Sets and other related equipment and services. The estimated cost is $2.81 billion. The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States has requested the possible sale of 114 PATRIOT Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missiles, 3 AN/MPQ-65 Radar Sets, 1 AN/MSQ-133 Information and Coordination Centrals, 1 Tactical Command Station, 3 Communication Relay Groups, 3 AN/MSQ-132 Engagement Control Stations, 26 M902 Launching Stations, 5 Antenna Mast Groups, 1 Electronic Power Plant III (EPP), battery and battalion maintenance equipment, prime movers, generators, electrical power units, personnel training and equipment, trailers, communication equipment, tool and test sets, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, Quality Assurance Team support services, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support.

Raytheon Company announced 24 December 2009 it had received defense orders worth $1.1 billion to supply Taiwan with advanced Patriot air defense systems. Raytheon said it will deliver "Patriot fire units that will include new advances in technology, improved man-machine interface and reduced life-cycle costs" and spare parts under two contracts approved by the U.S. government. "The Patriot system is a vital element to providing superior integrated air and missile defense capabilities for the protection of Taiwan," said Daniel L. Smith, president of Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems (IDS).

On July 9, 2020 the US State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO) of Recertification of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles for an estimated cost of $620 million. TECRO has requested to buy Recertification of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles, including the replacement of expiring Limited Life Components (LLCs) and certification testing in order to support an operational life of thirty years; Test and repair of PAC-3 missiles, including Stockpile Reliability Testing (SRT) and Field Returns; Repair and Return (R&R) of classified and unclassified PAC-3 missile items and Ground Support Equipment (GSE) component level parts; replenishment of classified and unclassified missile spares and GSE spares, as well as a seeker spares pool to improve the turnaround time of the repair and recertification efforts; air transportation services for missile processing; U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics support; and other related elements of logistics support.

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Page last modified: 06-10-2021 12:14:56 ZULU