U.S. May Sell Weapons to Taiwan
WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 (Reuters) — The Pentagon announced tentative plans on Wednesday to sell surplus P-3C Orion submarine - hunting aircraft and air-defense missiles to Taiwan in deals potentially worth more than $2.23 billion, including related gear and services.
Taiwan is seeking to buy 12 surplus P-3C maritime patrol aircraft with T-56 turboprop engines, data terminals and a mobile operation command center in a deal that could be worth $1.96 billion, the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a notice to Congress.
In a separate notice, the agency said it was also tentatively planning to sell Taiwan 144 SM-2 Block 3A Standard missiles to defend against cruise missiles and aircraft threats in a package that could total $272 million.
The P-3C is a land-based maritime patrol and submarine warfare aircraft.
It is to be replaced in the United States arsenal by the P-6 Multimission maritime aircraft, scheduled to enter service in 2013.
As part of the proposed P-3C deal, Taiwan also would get help integrating its intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance network, the Pentagon said.
The Pentagon said the proposed sale would be to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States, Taiwan’s unofficial embassy.
Taiwan’s current patrol aircraft are reaching the end of their usefulness, the Pentagon said. The sale would improve Taiwan’s security and help maintain political stability, military balance and economic progress in the region, the notice to Congress said.
Principal contractors for the P-3C Orion deal include Lockheed Martin, Rockwell Collins and Raytheon.
The SM-2 missiles, which would supplement those already in Taiwan’s inventory, are for Taiwan’s destroyers. Raytheon would be the prime contractor, according to the Pentagon.
The notice of a potential sale is required by law. It does not mean a deal has been concluded. Congress can block such sales but rarely does.