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Taiwan has longest wait time for HIMARS, Abrams

Taiwan also has 2nd longest wait time for F-16 fighters

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Arkansas National Guard fires ATACMS missile from HIMARS launcher at White Sands Missile Range. (U.S. DoD photo)

Arkansas National Guard fires ATACMS missile from HIMARS launcher at White Sands Missile Range. (U.S. DoD photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An analyst at a U.S. think tank has calculated that Taiwan suffers one of the worst backlogs among the recipients of U.S. major weapons systems.

Eric Gomez, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, said there are approximately US$19 billion (NT$594.8 billion) in weapons systems that Taiwan has purchased from the U.S. but has yet to receive.

Gomez found that Taiwan has the longest average lag time for HIMARS and Abrams, while it also has the second-longest wait for the F-16. Taiwan has to wait an average of 4.5 years to receive HIMARS, compared to three years for the Middle East, 3.6 years for Europe, and four years for the Indo-Pacific.

The DSCA first announced a potential sale of 11 HIMARS to Taiwan in 2020 and in 2022 an additional 18 were added to the order. The first order is slated to be fulfilled in 2025, while the second is due in 2026.

At seven years, Taiwan has a significantly longer wait for the Abrams than Europe and the Middle East, which have timelines of four years. In July 2019 the agency announced the sale of 108 Abrams tanks to Taiwan and the order will not be fully finished until 2026.

Taiwan will have to wait seven years for the completion of its F-16 order, second only to the Middle East, which has waited eight years, while Europe received the fighters within six years. The DSCA first announced the sale of 66 F-16 Block 70 fighter jets to Taiwan in August 2019 and the order is not scheduled to be completed until 2026.

To determine wait times, Gomez looked through the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) list of major arms sales for the HIMARS rocket launcher, F‑16V and F‑16 Block 70 fighter jets, and Abrams tank.

He then sifted through announcements on weapon delivery timelines based on government announcements, news articles, and sales contracts. He removed items from the list if delivery had not been completed, a timeline had not yet been released, or the transaction consisted of an upgrade to existing systems.

After making the adjustments, he was able to derive the delivery timeframe between the original DSCA announcement of the weapons sale and the ultimate delivery. He then made a comparison of the average amount of time it took to deliver the arms to Taiwan to the timeline of other countries grouped by region.