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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Taiwan to buy upgraded PAC-3 missiles, to be deployed by 2026

ROC Central News Agency

03/31/2021 03:36 PM

Taipei, March 31 (CNA) Taiwan's military has decided to buy an upgraded version of the Patriot missile from the U.S. to counter China's growing threat against the country, according to a Ministry of National Defense (MND) report on Wednesday.

The Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) interceptors Taiwan is slated to buy are scheduled to be delivered between 2025 and 2026 and deployed by the end of 2026, according to the MND report sent to lawmakers for review.

Military sources, however, did not disclose the budget allocated for the purchase or how many PAC-3 MSEs the MND wishes to buy.

The decision to make the purchase was made during a Taiwan-U.S. meeting in 2019, according to the MND.

According to Lockheed Martin, manufacturer of the PAC family of missiles, the PAC-3 MSE two-pulse solid rocket motor provides increased performance in both altitude and range.

The two-pulse solid rocket motor and enhanced airframe gives the interceptor more maneuverability against faster and more sophisticated tactical ballistic missiles and cruise missiles, according to information available on Lockheed Martin's website.

Taiwan received its first Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC)-2 systems in 1997. The MND spent another NT$179.14 billion (US$6.28 billion) between 2007 and 2021 to upgrade the PAC-2s into PAC-3s and in buying new PAC-3 systems.

The upgraded PAC-2s and newly purchased PAC-3s were all delivered to Taiwan by the end of 2017 and have already been deployed across the country.

Taiwan currently has more than 400 PAC missiles deployed.

Meanwhile, the same MND report said the military's top research unit, the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science & Technology (NCSIST), has already completed production of 23 Tien Kung III or Sky Bow III surface-to-air missiles this year, ahead of the original deadline set for the end of 2021.

The ahead-of-schedule delivery came after a 2019 call on the NCSIST by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to accelerate mass production of anti-tactical ballistic missiles, such as the Tien Kung III, in response to China's increasing military power and bellicosity.

Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲), a senior analyst at the government-funded Institute for National Defense and Security Research, told CNA that the Sky Bow III has a higher intercept altitude than the PAC-3, while the PAC-3 has better precision.

The two missile defense systems thus complement each other in defending against Chinese invasion, he added.

(By Matt Yu and Joseph Yeh)


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