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Taiwan inks NT$17.2 billion fighter jet missile deal with US

Deal rumored to be for purchase of AGM-158 JASSM long-range missiles

US Air Force F-16 releases JASSM-ER over Gulf of Mexico. (USAF Photo)

US Air Force F-16 releases JASSM-ER over Gulf of Mexico. (USAF Photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan and the U.S. have signed a NT$17.2 billion (US$547 million) weapons order for fighter jet missiles.

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) on Friday (Dec. 1) confirmed the deal, per the Liberty Times. The MND labeled the purchase as "fighter aircraft air/surface weapons procurement."

Since the contract fulfillment location is the Taitung area, which is where the Air Force's Seventh Tactical Flight Wing is situated on the Taitung Air Force Base, analysts were reported as saying that this procurement is intended for long-range air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles for the newly upgraded Block 70 F-16V fighters from the U.S.

The contract valued at NT$17,221,812,900 was signed on Nov. 13 for the purchase of air/surface weapons produced in the U.S. The contract took effect on that day but will not be fully completed until nine years later on Nov. 30, 2032.

During a Legislative Yuan Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting in March 2022, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟) asked Vice Defense Minister Alex Po (柏鴻輝) what progress Taiwan had made in obtaining the AGM-158 JASSM.

In January, it was reported the military is seeking to purchase the AGM-158 JASSM low observable standoff air-launched cruise missile with a range of 370 kilometers, and the extended-range AGM-158 JASSM, which has a range of up to 1,000 km.

Legislator Wang Ting-Yu (王定宇) was cited by Liberty Times as saying in July that since last year, the military has been attempting to acquire the AGM-158, but the U.S. had yet to give a clear response.

Wang said the military is seeking to obtain the missiles as part of its efforts to build a "source-strike, multi-layered deterrence" capability that includes the Hsiung Feng II, Hsiung Feng III, and Harpoon anti-ship missiles for the Navy and the AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapon, AGM-88 HARM, AGM-84H/K SLAM-ER, and AGM-158 JASSM missile systems for the Air Force.