US approves M109A6 Paladin SPH sale to Taiwan

The US State Department has approved a potential Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to Taiwan of 40 155 mm M109A6 Paladin self-propelled howitzers (SPHs) and 20 M992A2 Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicles (FAASVs) plus associated equipment and technical support.

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on 4 August that the US-based Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) had also requested five M88A2 Hercules armoured recovery vehicles (ARVs) and 1,698 Precision Guidance Kits.

The proposed deal, which still requires approval from the US Congress, would be worth up to US$750 million.

Besides the vehicles and guidance kits, TECRO had also requested a range of mission equipment including BAE Systems Defense Advanced Global Positioning System Receiver (DAGR); AN/VVS(2) Night Driver’s Viewer (NDV) devices; L3Harris Dynamic Reference Unit Hybrid-Replacement Inertial Navigation Systems; and Raytheon’s Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS).

Other items included in the TECRO request include the Export Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS), M2A1 12.7 mm heavy machine guns, weapon mounts, smoke grenade launchers, and artillery charges.

The M109A6 SPH is a modernised version of the M109A2 platforms currently used by the Republic of China Army (RoCA). It can employ the latest generation of ordnance with its expanded ammunition stowage and offers increased vehicle and crew survivability. It also offers reduced crewing requirements of four, instead of six.

The FMS approval is the first to be awarded to Taiwan, which is increasingly under threat of invasion by an assertive China – which regards the island as a breakaway province that must be unified with the mainland – under the administration of US President Joe Biden.

“We expect to continue seeing normalised, timely, and regular arms sales from the US that promote Taiwan’s military readiness,” said US-Taiwan Business Council president Rupert Hammond-Chambers.

“We also hope to see additional offers from the Biden administration of new capabilities for Taiwan, to both help expand its current military posture and to continue improving its multi-layered self-defence capacity,” added Hammond-Chambers.

Earlier high-profile FMS approvals granted to Taiwan within the past year include potential sales of potentially weaponised GA-ASI MQ-9B SeaGuardian medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicles, Boeing Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems and RGM-84L-4 Harpoon Block II surface-launched anti-ship missiles, and M142 HIMARS launchers.

by Jr Ng