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US could announce sale of M1A2X tanks to Taiwan before July

A decision will be made within 120 days of Taiwan's request

A U.S. M1 Abrams tanks

A U.S. M1 Abrams tanks (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A military official has said the U.S. will announce the sale of M1A2X battle tanks to Taiwan within the next three months.

Taiwan ramped up its requests for U.S.-built defense instruments this year, applying for a fleet of new jet fighters last week, according to Defense News, on top of 108 tanks.

Washington said it will make a decision on the tanks within 120 days of the application date.

The Ministry of National Defense submitted its application for 66 F-16V aircrafts on Feb. 27, but China Times reports a decision on the fighter jets is likely to be made at a later date.

If approved, the F-16V sale will mark the first U.S. transaction of new fighter aircrafts to Taiwan in almost 30 years. The Ministry of National Defense spent US$6 billion (NT$185 billion) on 150 F-16A/B jets in 1992.

A Taiwanese defence official was quoted by the China Times newspaper last year that if the sale was given the green light, the M1A2s would be deployed into two armored battalions under the command of the Sixth Army Corps, which is based in Taoyuan, northern Taiwan.

An inside source also told China Times that the indigenous defence submarine program is running smoothly, and a classified progress report will be delivered to the Legislative Yuan on March 28 for approval. Once approved, the MND will begin construction on a prototype model.