Maintenance of Taiwan's AIM-120 missiles at risk: report
ROC Central News Agency
By Chris Wang
Taipei, Feb. 17 (CNA) The sustainability of a U.S.-made missile that is part of Taiwan's defense arsenal could be at risk because the component makers have withdrawn from the manufacturing program, according to a military report.
The maintenance and life-cycle of the hundreds of AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) that Taiwan currently has in service could be affected by the move, said a Taiwan Air Force report on the 2010 AMRAAM International Users' Conference that was held in Florida in May 2010.
At the meeting, the U.S. had raised the issue of Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages (DMSMS) , recommending that countries revise their procurement contracts to include maintenance and warranty clauses, the report said.
Citing the U.S. Air Force 649th Armament Systems Squadron (ARSS) that is in charge of managing such weapon system programs, the report said that the component shortage could begin in 2012.
However, the U.S. has been in contact with Raytheon, the main manufacturer of the missile, and the AMRAAM system program office on the possibility of developing replacement components, the report stated.
The U.S also intends to develop joint logistics support plans with Raytheon for the next two decades to maintain U.S. air dominance until at least 2030, according to the report.
The Taiwan air force is seeking assistance and advice from the U.S. on the issue because the humidity in Taiwan presents problems for the maintenance and storage of the missile, the report stated.
The AIM-120 is an air-to-air missile capable of all-weather, night and day performance. It is currently in service in the U.S. and 34 other countries, including Taiwan, with the total number exceeding 18,000.
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