TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Air Force reportedly plans to purchase four sets of National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) systems from the U.S. to defend Greater Taipei, and air bases in Taichung City, Hualien County, and Taitung County.
A senior government source was cited by Liberty Times on Saturday (July 22) as saying the Air Force will purchase four sets of NASAMS systems and nearly 300 medium-range air-to-air missiles. This includes the AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM), as well as AIM-9X Sidewinder short-range missiles.
The four platforms are going to be deployed to four strategically important areas, including: Greater Taipei, Ching-Chuan-Kang Air Base in Taichung, Chiashan Air Base in Hualien, and Chihhang Air Base in Taitung.
According to the senior source, NASAMS is a very flexible system in terms of combat response. In addition to interoperability with the long-range defense system of Patriot III missiles, but based on design by the U.S. and actual combat results observed during the Russo-Ukrainian War, NASAMS launchers can fire short- and medium-range missiles such as the AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-9X Sidewinder.
A variety of missile types can be fired from NASAMS platform. (Kongsberg Defense and Aerospace website photo)
A standard NASAMS system includes a command center, active AN/MPQ-64F1 Sentinel 3D radar, passive electro-optical and infrared sensors, and multiple missile canister launchers that can load AIM-120 missiles and AIM-9X missiles, according to Kongsberg Defense and Aerospace. Every NASAMS battery has three missile launchers which each can carry six missile launch canisters.
The source said the NASAMS system focuses on protecting air force bases, seaports, and densely populated areas. The U.S. military has been using the NASAMS system to ensure the security of Washington, D.C. since 2005.
The Air Force plans to purchase the NASAMS system, but the procurement items, quantity, total cost, and the budget allocation for each year are yet to be discussed and determined by Taiwan and the U.S. The source revealed the NASAMS system procurement project will be included in the 2024 annual budget, and will be managed through a multi-year procurement program
The initial year's procurement budget is expected to exceed NT$5 billion (US$159.5 million).