《TAIPEI TIMES》 Ministry, AIT ink deal to maintain PAC-3 missiles
President Tsai Ing-wen, front row eighth right, and soldiers from the Defense and Artillery Command’s Taichung branch pose in front of a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile system on Sept. 10. Photo copied by Wu Shu-wei, Taipei Times
By Lo Tien-pin and Jonathan Chin / Staff reporter, with staff writer
The Ministry of National Defense and the American Institute in Taiwan （AIT） have inked a deal to maintain ground support equipment for US-made Patriot Advanced Capability-3 （PAC-3） missiles, as well as other missiles in Taiwan.
Ministry representatives first negotiated the NT$1.4 billion （US$50.39 million） contract with AIT officials on Aug. 31, the ministry said in an award notification issued on the Taiwan Buying Network on Monday.
The deal would provide maintenance services for US-made missiles, including the PAC-3 systems, until 2025, it said, adding that the Republic of China Air Force Command Headquarters would take charge of Taiwan’s contractual obligations.
The deal is part of the PAC-3 sales package that includes the missiles, related systems, and maintenance and support services, a ministry official said on condition of anonymity.
According to the package deal, Taiwan’s PAC-3 missile defense systems that are near the end of their service life would be returned to the US for refurbishment, they said.
The PAC-3 is Taiwan’s primary missile defense system against the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s （PLA） sophisticated missile arsenal, whose range covers all of Taiwan.
The PLA’s missile forces increasingly use mobile launch platforms in addition to fixed batteries, a development that deeply concerns Taiwanese defense officials.
In its 2021 People’s Liberation Army Capability Report, which was submitted to the legislature on Sept. 1, the ministry said that the PLA Rocket Force continues to develop strike missiles with stealth capabilities, as well as those that can penetrate air-defense systems, change trajectory mid-air and ignore electronic interference.
The PLA Rocket Force is rapidly fielding new systems and improving training standards to augment its capabilities to carry out attacks against Taiwan and counter precision stand-off weapons fielded by other foreign adversaries, it said.
The Chinese military is expected to replace older ballistic and cruise missiles with the new short-range DF-16, as well as the improved medium-range DF-16, DF-17, DF-10A and the DF-100 cruise missile, it said.