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Taiwan's Hawk missiles reportedly being sent to Ukraine via US

Military regulations only allow for sale of decommissioned weapons in 'special circumstances'

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A Taiwan army Hawk missile system is displayed to the public. (Wikimedia Commons, Hsuan Shih-sheng photo)

A Taiwan army Hawk missile system is displayed to the public. (Wikimedia Commons, Hsuan Shih-sheng photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The U.S. will repurchase decommissioned missiles it sold to Taiwan and provide them to Ukraine as part of a military aid package, according to a local news outlet.

The China Times quoted an unnamed source on Friday (July 14) who said that the Phase III MIM-23 Hawk missiles, decommissioned in June, will be sold to the U.S.

Consultations with “high-level” national security officials last year reportedly led to an agreement between the two countries. It was decided that after the U.S. purchase, the missiles will be sent to the Ukrainian army to combat Russian drones and low-altitude aircraft.

The latest round of U.S. military aid to Ukraine includes Hawk missiles, and in January Axios reported that Israel was asked by the U.S. to provide Hawk missiles for Ukraine. Spain also began sending Hawk missiles to Ukraine in October 2022.

Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense declined Taiwan News’ request for comment on the report, but said weapons are disposed of according to the military’s own regulations. According to the regulations, surplus military products cannot be sold, except in special circumstances that are approved by the ministry.

According to Taiwan's airforce, Hawk missiles have been used in 41 combat exercises between 1965 and 2017, successfully hitting their targets just over 90% of the time. The U.S.-made weapons are designed to destroy enemy aircraft and intercept missiles and are used by many other countries, including Singapore and Japan.

Taiwan will replace the decommissioned weapons with the locally developed Sky Bow III (TK-3) missile.