As China prepares to invade Taiwan, the US has approved sale of High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), Standoff Land Attack Missile Expanded Response (SLAM-ER) Missiles besides MS-110 Recce Pods altogether worth $1.8 billion.
The US state department on Wednesday approved Foreign Military Sale to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO) of 11 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) M142 Launchers and related equipment for an estimated cost of $436.1 million. TECRO has requested to buy 11 HIMARS M142 Launchers and 64 Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS)
The second approval was for 135 AGM-84H Standoff Land Attack Missile Expanded Response (SLAM-ER) Missiles and related equipment for an estimated cost of $1.008 billion.
The third approval was for six MS-110 Recce Pods and related equipment for an estimated cost of $367.2 million. It also includes three Transportable Ground Stations and one Fixed Ground station.
The artillery rocket system and land attack missiles will enable the Taiwanese military to contain an invasion by the PLA for some time but the Chinese Army is still superior both numerically and equipment-wise.
The latest sale is sure to anger China whose relations with the US are at their lowest ebb in recent years. Beijing has resolutely opposed the sale of weapons to Taiwan which it considers as a renegade province while for the US, Taiwan is an independent state.
China has of late intensified its exercises intended to simulate an assault on the island. It calls these exercises and over-flights near the Taiwanese borders as “unification exercises.”