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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Military allocates budget to buy tactical UAVs, boost radar capability

ROC Central News Agency

08/31/2020 09:18 PM

Taipei, Aug. 31 (CNA) Taiwan's military has allocated budgets to buy Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (TUAVs), underwater vehicles, and to improve its radar surveillance and camouflage capabilities in response to the increasing military threat from China, according to a defense budget proposal it submitted to lawmakers for review on Monday.

The 2021 defense budget proposal the military sent to the Legislative Yuan pending approval shows that the Army is seeking to spend NT$779 million (US$26 million) to buy 50 TUAVs to boost its newly formed combined arms battalions' early warning and response capability from fiscal year 2021 to 2023.

The Navy wants to spend another NT$213 million from 2021 to 2022 to purchase 12 underwater vehicles to boost its amphibious forces' mobility.

Between 2021 to 2030, the Navy is also planning to spend a total of NT$5.05 billion to overhaul its existing radar stations that monitor the waters surrounding the country.

The stations have been in service for more than two decades and are in desperate need of upgrading their surveillance capability, according to the budget proposal.

Another military branch, the Military Police Command, which is responsible for guarding the president, is expected to spend NT$60 million to buy 65 new motorcycles from 2021 to 2022 to replace the aging Yamaha Royal Star motorcycles it currently uses, according to the budget proposal.

A military source told CNA that the low-floor 1,300cc motorcycles are too heavy and less mobile during wartime, so the military wants to replace them with smaller bikes to improve mobility. The command, however, has yet to decide which model it plans to buy, the source added.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) hopes to spend NT$1.1 billion between 2021 and 2023 to replace the camouflage nets it currently uses in all of its military branches to improve the concealment capability in response to the Chinese military's significant improvement of its surveillance technologies over the years.

The MND's Armament Bureau has allocated NT$560 million from 2021 to 2024 to build four prototypes of Joint Light Tactical Vehicles (JLTV).

For fiscal 2021, the central government has allocated a total of NT$453.4 billion, or 2.4 percent of this year's projected GDP, on defense budget, which is a 4.4 percent increase compared with the budget of a year ago.

NT$29 billion of the budget is to be used to buy 66 F-16V jet fighters from the United States.

(By Matt Yu and Joseph Yeh)


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