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Taiwan finalizes missile systems deal with US

HIMARS, Harpoon coastal defense system to boost Taiwan's asymmetric warfare capabilities

HIMARS being tested at White Sands Missile Range. (U.S. Army photo) 

HIMARS being tested at White Sands Missile Range. (U.S. Army photo) 

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced Thursday (June 17) that it has signed two contracts with the American Institute in Taiwan's headquarters in Virginia for multiple M142 high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS) and Harpoon coastal defense systems (HCDS).

According to the MND, the HIMARS deal will cost an estimated US$436.1 million, and all related equipment is expected to arrive in Taiwan by 2027. The Army Command is in charge of this contract, CNA reported.

Meanwhile, the HCDS sale will be overseen by the Navy Command and cost approximately US$2.37 billion, with delivery of these missile systems to be completed by 2028. No other details about the arms sales were given due to their confidential nature.

On October 21, 2020, the U.S. approved the sale of HIMARS M142 launchers, 64 army tactical missile systems (ATACMS), M57 Unitary missiles, 7 Humvees, 11 M240B machine guns, 17 international field artillery tactical data systems, and other related equipment. Just five days later, Washington allowed Taipei to purchase up to 100 HCDS and 400 RGM-84L-4 Harpoon Block II surface launched missiles.

The HIMARS is a highly mobile artillery rocket system that can fire six rockets or one ATACMS missile. It is capable of attacking enemy artillery, air defenses, light armor vehicles, and troops, according to Army Technology.

Meanwhile, the HCDS is the land-based version of the Harpoon missile Block II. The missile is capable of eliminating enemy coastal defenses, surface-to-air missile launch sites, aircraft, ports, and docked ships, Naval Technology wrote.

Both the HIMARS and HCDS will increase Taiwan’s asymmetric warfare capabilities, per CNA.