U.S. officials are encouraging Taiwan to equip its military with more advanced weapons. However, Reuters reported that the island could not have enough budget to do it.
According to Taiwan media, Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng told a legislative session on Thursday that the asking price for anti-submarine helicopters from the United States was “too high and beyond our capability.”
China’s rapid development of advanced submarines gives world armies further reason to build counter-forces. China’s pressure against Taiwan has increased more and more.
Radio Free Asia said the Taiwanese Navy had set aside $1.15 billion for 12 MH-60R Seahawk anti-submarine choppers made by Lockheed Martin Corp unit Sikorsky; the price went up later due to high demand.
Minister Chiu did not specify how much more expensive it got. Still, a U.S. Agency announced on March 15 that they approved a sale of eight MH-60R Seahawk helicopters to Spain, with supporting equipment, for an estimated $950 million.
That implies that 12 choppers would cost at least $1.425 billion, far more than Taiwan’s budget of only $1.15 billion.
Lockheed Martin Corporation says its MH-60R Seahawk is “the most capable naval helicopter available today designed to operate from frigates, destroyers, cruisers and aircraft carriers.”
Besides helicopters, Taiwan also acquired the U.S. many artillery and man-portable missiles.
With the purchase of 40 M109A6 howitzers and supporting equipment, Taiwan has agreed to pay around $750 million to the United States in the coming months.
The man-portable air-defense Stingers missiles were supposed to reach Taiwan by March 2026; the Ukrainian war demanded Stingers and other hand-held systems, and that completion date seems impossible.
Despite the lack of official diplomatic connections between Washington and Taipei, the United States is bound by law to assist Taiwan in arming itself with defense capabilities.
For years, the U.S. military shipments have annoyed Beijing, which sees Taiwan as part of China despite the island’s sovereignty.