Will Beijing respond?
China Will Be Mad: Taiwan Will Get M1 Abrams Tanks from America (And More)
The U.S. State Department has signed off on the sale to Taiwan of more than 100 M-1A2 Abrams main battle tanks and other weapons.
The $2.2-billion sale, if Congress approves it, could significantly improve Taiwan’s army, which has not acquired new tanks in several decades. U.S. lawmakers historically have approved weapons deals with Taiwan.
“This proposed sale of M-1A2 tanks will contribute to the modernization of the recipient’s main battle tank fleet, enhancing its ability to meet current and future regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense,” the Defense Security Cooperation Agency stated.
“These tanks will contribute to the recipient’s goal of updating its military capability while further enhancing interoperability with the United States and other partners. The recipient will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.”
The deal includes 100 M-1A2T tanks, 14 M-88A2 tank-recovery vehicles, 16 M-1070A1 Heavy Equipment Transporters plus 250 Stinger Block I-92F shoulder-fired anti-air missiles.
The M-1A2T is a special Taiwanese configuration of the U.S. Army’s latest M-1A2C. The M-1A2T’s improvements include more electrical power, a new auxiliary power unit and an ammunition data link for “smart” shells with reprogrammable fuzes.
The Abrams reportedly will replace, in two battalions, some of the Taiwanese army’s aging M-60A3 and CM11 tanks. The Taiwanese defense ministry has already identified bases for the tanks in the island country’s northern region, according to Taiwan News.