Taiwan's Air Force breached protocol in buying missile recertification package: MND

Ministry of Defense says Air Force did not follow proper procedures, plans to establish stricter purchasing, maintenance regulations

  7210
Patriot III missile system (US Army photo)

Patriot III missile system (US Army photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — News broke on Monday (July 20) that the Taiwanese Air Force did not follow proper protocol when initiating the Patriot III missile recertification deal with the U.S.

The U.S. State Department formally approved the nation’s request to recertify its Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles on July 9 for an estimated cost of US$620 million. However, it was recently revealed that the Minister of Defense, Air Force commander, and other high-level officials had been unaware of the possible sale, Liberty Times reported.

They only learned about it when the U.S. publicly announced the deal, which came as a shock to top political and military personnel. After the military investigated the matter, it discovered that the Air Force’s Air Defense and Missile commander had regarded the case as an operational maintenance cost and sent the request to the U.S. through the Ministry of National Defense (MND).

The MND issued a statement on Monday stating that the Patriot III missile procurement plan began in 2004. It added that the relevant documents have always included technical services, logistics maintenance, and other costs.

The ministry admitted that the Air Force had not followed the proper protocol and stated that it will establish stricter procedures for purchases and logistical maintenance in accordance with existing mechanisms. Furthermore, the ministry said it will develop a more comprehensive management system to avoid similar problems in the future.

According to a press release from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the recertification package includes the replacement of PAC-3 components that are close to expiration; the repair and testing of missiles, including Stockpile Reliability Testing (SRT); spare parts for ground support equipment, and other logistical support. The primary contractor for the sale will be Lockheed Martin.