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US approves sale of AMRAAM and Maverick missiles to Taiwan

March 1, 2007 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The U.S. Defense Department on Wednesday told Congress it had approved the possible sale of up to $421 million in missiles built by Raytheon to Taiwan for use on its F-16 fighter jets.

RoCAF F-16A block 20 #6609 is ready for landing with its gears down at Chia-Yi AFB on July 6th, 2006. [A.S.I.A. Archives Images photo by Hirai Makoto]

Congress has 30 days to block the proposed sale, although such actions are rare.

The Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which oversees major foreign arms sales, said Taiwan had requested the sale of 218 AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs), as well as 235 AGM-65G2 Maverick missiles, and associated launchers and equipment.

The sale would augment and complement AMRAAM and Maverick missiles that Taiwan already had in its inventory, it said.

The possible sale would help the Republic of China modernize its armed forces and enhance its defensive ability to counter air and ground threats, the agency said in its notification to Congress.

The prime contractor for the sale would be Raytheon and the total value of the sale would be $421 million, if all options are exercised, it said.

The sale of AMRAAM and Maverick missiles is to augment and complement Taiwan's F-16 fleet, which already uses these two kinds of missiles. They took delivery of 200 AIM-120 AMRAAMs in September 2004.

In November 1992 Taiwan bought 150 F-16A/B aircraft (120 A-models and 30 B-models) under the Peace Fenghuang Foreign Military Sales program.

The RoCAF is currently also seeking to buy 66 F16C/D block 52s to fill the gap in air defence from now until they introduced fifth-generation warplanes. The United States however temporarily blocked this sale after the island's parliament repeatedly failed to approve funds for an earlier arms package. Also note that the US refused to offer Taiwan the F-35 Lightning II.

Additional images:

RoCAF F-16A block 20 #6615 is armed with a pair of Maverick missiles when photographed after take of from Hua-Lien AFB on July 20th, 2006. [A.S.I.A. Archives Images photo by Rossi T]