The US State Department has given its approval for the potential sale of M1A2T Abrams Tanks and Stinger missiles to Taiwan, drawing criticism from China.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of the $2.22bn arms sale, which consists of 108 M1A2T Abrams Tanks and 250 Block I -92F man-portable air-defence system (MANPAD) Stinger missiles and four Block I -92F MANPAD Stinger Fly-to-Buy missiles.
Taiwan has also requested for the US Government to sell 122 M2 Chrysler Mount Machine Guns, 216 M240 machine guns, 14 M88A2 Hercules armoured vehicles, as well as 16 M1070A1 heavy equipment transporters (HET) and associated rounds.
The sale could also include single-channel ground and airborne radio system (SINCGARS) and AN/PSN-13A Defense Advanced GPS Receiver (DAGR) with selective-availability / anti-spoofing module (SAASM).
Subject to approval from Congress, Taiwan will also receive smoke grenade launchers and other equipment and support.
DSCA stated that the deal will allow Taipei to bolster its defensive capability and the procurement of the M1A2T tanks will facilitate the modernisation of its main battle tank fleet.
Taiwan will use the tanks to address regional threats and enhance its homeland defence.
In a statement, DSCA said: “This proposed sale serves US national, economic, and security interests by supporting the recipient’s continuing efforts to modernise its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability.
“The proposed sale will help improve the security of the recipient and assist in maintaining political stability, military balance, and economic progress in the region.”
Furthermore, the tanks will increase Taiwan’s interoperability with the US and other partners.
General Dynamics Land Systems has been named the prime contractor for the M1A2T tank. The company will produce these tanks in the US at Anniston Army Depot, Alabama, and the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio.
BAE Systems will be responsible for building M88A2 recovery vehicle, while Oshkosh will serve as the primary contractor for the M1070A1 HETs.
The Stinger missiles will be supplied by Raytheon Missile Systems.
Beijing has condemned the possible sale of arms to Taiwan, stating that the region is an integral part of the country and that any interference in its internal matters is uncalled for.
China has called on Washington to revoke the potential arms deal to ensure peace and stability in the region.