Home » News & Analysis » UPDATED: U.S. Plans Modest $1.83B Taiwan Arms Deal; Little Offensive Power in Proposed Package

UPDATED: U.S. Plans Modest $1.83B Taiwan Arms Deal; Little Offensive Power in Proposed Package

Guard at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Photo via Wikipedia

Guard at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Photo via Wikipedia

The following post has been updated to include a statement from Sen. John McCain and links to the individual Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announcements.

The State Department will present Congress a comparatively modest $1.83 billion arms foreign military sales deal to Taiwan today – the first arms package for the island nation in four years, USNI News has learned.

According to sources familiar with the package, it will include the costs of refurbishing two former U.S. Navy Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates, anti-air and armor missiles, defensive ship systems and 36 AAV-7 Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAV).

While the first in four years, the $1.83 billion deal is modest in scope and firepower compared to the last package of $5.9 billion that included upgrades for Taiwan’s fleet of Lockheed Martin F-16 Falcon fighters and a 2010 package of $6 billion.

Notably absent from the deal is any mention of assisting Taiwan’s new diesel-electric submarine program (SSK) to replace its two Dutch-built, 1980s vintage 2,600-ton Hai-lang-class SSKs and two World War II era U.S. Guppy-class boats used for training or any movement toward fulfilling Taiwan’s lingering next-generation fighter requirement.

The proposed Taiwan arms package includes 36 AAV-7 amphibious landing vehicles.

The proposed Taiwan arms package includes 36 AAV-7 amphibious landing vehicles.

“The weapons that are included in here are almost exclusively for defense purposes,” Eric Wertheim, naval analyst and author of the U.S. Naval Institute’s Combat Fleets of the World told USNI News on Wednesday.
“It’s clear that the administration doesn’t want to upset mainland China by providing anything that can be seen as upsetting the balance of power in the region or appearing to be offensive.”

2015 Proposed U.S. Arms Sales Package to Taiwan Includes:

$416 million for 13 Phalanx ship defense systems
$375 million for 36 AAV-7 Amphibious Assault Vehicles
$268 million for 769 BGM-71 TOW 2B anti-armor missiles
$217 million for 250 shoulder-fired FIM-92 Stinger man portable air defense systems (MANPADS)
$190 million to refurbish two former Oliver Hazard Perry class
$120 million 10 Link 11/Link 16 data links for naval vessels
$120 million support for Multifunctional Information Distribution Systems Low Volume Terminals (MIDS/LVT-1) and Joint Tactical Information Distribution Systems (JTIDS)
$108 million for unspecified minesweepers in a direct commercial sale
$77 million for 201 FGM-148 Javelin shoulder-fired anti-armor missiles
The deal also includes a cost-free lease of a bilateral communications network between Taiwan and U.S. Pacific Command.

The lack of Washington arms deals with Taipei in recent years – one of the few countries willing to sell weapons against mainland China’s wishes – has been a subject of bilateral criticism for some in Congress.

Earlier this year the Taiwan Ministry of Defense announced it would embark on its own submarine program after the U.S. failed to make good on a submarine program agreed to under the George W. Bush administration.

Late last month, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) wrote to the White House to express concern the U.S. wasn’t doing more to aid Taiwan against the backdrop of a rapid Chinese military expansion.

USS Taylor (FFG-50) returns to its homeport of Naval Station Mayport, Fla. on Aug. 9, 2014. The ship is one of two the US may sell to Taiwan. US Navy Photo

USS Taylor (FFG-50) returns to its homeport of Naval Station Mayport, Fla. on Aug. 9, 2014. The ship is one of two the US may sell to Taiwan. US Navy Photo

“While recent relations between Taiwan and China have been more encouraging, we remain concerned that China’s ongoing military modernization, and the threat it poses to peace and security in the Taiwan Strait, is not being adequately addressed,” read the letter.
“We are increasingly concerned that, absent a change in defense spending. Taiwan’s military will continue to be under-resourced and unable to make the investments necessary to maintain a credible deterrent across the strait, especially as its limited defense resources are increasingly constrained by growing military personnel costs.”

Following the official release of parts for the deal, McCain’s office issued a statement on the deal and called for a more regular arms sales process to Taiwan and Taipei to commit to devoting three percent of their gross domestic product to defense spending.

“I strongly support the Administration’s notification of a new round of arms sales to Taiwan. This decision is consistent with both the legal requirements of the Taiwan Relations Act and our national interest in helping the democratic government in Taipei preserve stability across the Taiwan Strait, read the statement.
“Going forward, the United States must establish a more regularized process for considering requests for arms sales to Taiwan in order to avoid extended periods in which a fear of upsetting the U.S.-China relationship may harm Taiwan’s defense capabilities. For its part, Taiwan will also need to work to meet its commitment to spend at least 3 percent of its annual gross domestic product on defense.”

For its part, the reception from Beijing will almost certainly be poor. China views Taiwan as a breakaway territory and has spent decades exerting economic and political pressure to prevent other countries from selling arms to Taiwan.

Their view could be summed up from a statement late last year on the proposed deal between U.S. and Italian defense firms to create a domestic minesweepers for Taiwan.

“China firmly opposes foreign arms sale to Taiwan and any form of military technology exchanges and cooperation between Taiwan and foreign countries. This position is clear-cut and consistent,” the statement read.
“We ask relevant countries to respect China’s core interests, adhere to the one-China principle, neither sell arms to Taiwan in any form nor assist Taiwan in developing its military equipment, and take concrete actions to support the peaceful development of cross-strait relations and peaceful reunification of China.”


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  • Corporatski Kittenbot 2.0

    Pretty modest really.

    Taiwan must surely realise that her defence technologies must come from within, because the US’s interest is waning rapidly.

    • Curtis Conway

      You make this statement based upon THIS administration’s support packages?

      • Secundius

        @ Curtis Conway.

        It may be the President’s Support Package, but the US Senate has too approve it. THEIR IN CHARGE OF EXPORTING, ex-US Military Equipment the “Friendly” Countries…

    • Curtis Conway

      The Marines don’t have an Aerial Tanker? Already stated a VSTOL/STOVL AEW is needed, and from where that solution can come (UK Royal Navy’s Crowsnest airborne early warning (AEW)). The Expeditionary Strike
      Group is a very attractive deployment package for future operations in this
      increasing SOF environment, which usually do not require a full CVW support
      effort. This force package would come in very handy in Humanitarian Assistance (HA) operations whose requirements are sure to grow. The purchase price of one Ford CVN will pay for three LHA-6 Large Deck Aviation Platforms outright that can be in as many locations. This would really help to get the Proactive Presence back on track. The LHA-6 replacing a CVN argument is a Red Herring and a non-starter in the larger scheme of things.

    • Secundius

      @ Business Cat.

      Taiwan is Scheduled to receive TWO Frigates, One OHP class and One Independence class…

  • disqus_zommBwspv9

    pretty crappy package. Guess they better start looking to the Japanese and ROKs to get what they need

    • muzzleloader

      Agreed. This is almost a non article.

  • John B. Morgen

    The United States should make an offer to sell some Spruance class [so-called] destroyers to Taiwan. In addition, sell the USS America, with a full complement of AV-8B Harriers to kick start Taiwan’s aircraft carrier fleet program. Why not? Let’s face people, China is [NOT] a friend nor an ally, we must support our Pacific allies!

    • Secundius

      @ John B. Morgan.

      DD-964, Paul F. Foster is ONLY Spruance class Destroyer in the Navy. Technically her “Colors” were Struck in Mach 2003, and serves as a Self-Defense Test Ship. ALL OTHER have either been Sold or Scrapped…

      • John B. Morgen

        In that case, then we should sell Taiwan with some Arleigh Burke class [so-called destroyers], or build them for the ROCN.

        • Secundius

          @ John B. Morgen.

          OUR OWN COUNTRY, is Hurting for Arleigh Burke class Destroyers! And you want to send SOME OF OURS???

          • John B. Morgen

            We can build as many Arleigh Burke class warships as we want, and if Taiwan wants to purchase some of them. Then so be it. Right now, the ROCN is at a disadvantage in numbers of modern warships, we need to level the playing field as much as possible.

          • Secundius

            @ John B. Morgen.

            It would be CHEAPER to Sell the the Plans to a Flight I Arleigh Burke class Destroyer. Have them build in THEIR OWN Shipyards, and Outfitted to MEET THEIR NEEDS instead of OUR NEEDS…

          • John B. Morgen

            Yes, we could grant Taiwan license to build some Arleigh Burke class [so-called] destroyers, but I was thinking more about protecting our own interesting by keeping a viable shipbuilding work force active; plus, hire some unemployed workers.If we were to build the Arleigh Burkes for Taiwan.

          • Secundius

            @ John B. Morgen.

            NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN! 47% of Congress are Millionaires, Senator John McCain and Rep. Darrel Issa included. BOTH outsource to the PRC. And NO Congressman or Senator that Outsource to the PRC, are going to RISK their Investments and Businesses, Selling to Taiwan. Including Senator John McCain, NO MATTER WHAT HE SAY ON TV or IN PRINT…

          • John B. Morgen

            Are you referring to the idea of issuing out licenses to Taiwan? Or Taiwan contracting our shipyards to build American designed warships for the ROCN?

          • Secundius

            @ John B. Morgen.

            BOTH!!! ANY deal with Taiwan, would have to be a “Under-the-Radar” Deal. Just like the Gotland class SSK Plans, Taiwan Received in 2008. Former Co-President of the Bush Administration, ALMOST went to Prison for his GREED and STUPID BLUNDER…

          • John B. Morgen

            It makes [no] difference of any arms sales deals with Taiwan because such deals [will [not] go unnoticed by Chinese intelligence], just go ahead with any arms deals with Taiwan. Furthermore, [we do not need permission] from Chinese in making such transactions with Taiwan.

          • Secundius

            @ John B. Morgen.

            It Wasn’t the PRC that ALMOST got him thrown in Prison, it was WITH Sweden that DID almost throw him in Prison…

    • Michal

      They have four Kidds, which is basically improved Spruance. Last thing that Taiwan needs is more destroyers. It is not like they would be fighting some epic naval battles.

      • John B. Morgen

        The ROCN needs to counter the PLAN at ship to ship level, and also needs a carrier air arm to strike at Chinese targets from afar, which is necessary for preventing a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. The ROCN doesn’t have enough ex-USS Kidds to go around in defending the island nation-state against a growing [Blue Water] Plan.

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  • chsr

    Taiwan need peaceful only,don’t sales used arms to Taiwan from USA..Taiwan Relation Action must to delete it.

    • 61manres


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  • Secundius

    $1.83-Billion USD. in AID or $1.83 Billion USD. “Template”. The Taiwanese, are NOT STUPID People. They can Reverse-Engineer the AID Package, And Build them, themselves. All we did was to supply them with “3-Dimensional Blue Prints” and the “Propellant Formula’s” that go with them…

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  • Newt201x

    the math for the total from above is not 1.83B. It’s more like 1.89B. Something must have been double-counted.