TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of National Defense said Wednesday (Dec. 22) it was expecting to receive the letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) from the United States for the MQ-9B Sea Guardian unmanned aerial vehicles by March 22 and the one for the M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzers in the near future.
The four drones manufactured by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. and equipped with reconnaissance systems, formed part of a US$600 million (NT$16.68 billion) package approved by the Biden administration in November.
The LOA for the howitzer sale was still being discussed between Taiwan and the U.S. but could also be expected to be issued soon, CNA reported. At a session with Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) and senior military officials Wednesday morning, lawmakers expressed concern that 10 months had already passed without apparent progress on the howitzer deal.
The main point of discussion for the LOA were differences of opinion on the specifications and pricing of precision guidance kits for the weapons, defense officials said.
Once the LOA is received from the U.S., the Legislative Yuan will have to review and approve the budget before Taiwan’s military delegation in Washington could sign the document and move on to the next phase of the process, which includes the payment, officials said.