Skip to comments.Taiwan puts US Abrams battle tanks on military wish list
Posted on 05/06/2018 3:54:14 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
The islands defence minister says an assessment will be made by the end of the year on how many of the tanks it plans to add to its armed forces Taiwan will decide by the end of this year whether it will buy a series of US battle tanks and if so, how many amid expectations of greater military pressure from mainland China.
National Defence Minister Yen Teh-fa told a panel of legislators that the US M1A2 Abrams tanks would be key to the islands last line of defence under a strategy Taipei unveiled late last year.
Yen also said the tanks could help transfer technology to the islands defence industry, Taiwans Central News Agency reported on Monday.
The Taiwan Strait is very likely to replace the Korean peninsula as the hottest flashpoint in the region, he said.
In response to the changing situation, Taiwans military has also increased its combat readiness.
Yen added that Beijing would hold more long-range military training and increase joint forces operations when engaged in such activities in waters near Taiwan.
Relations between Beijing and Taipei have nosedived since Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, took office in 2016.
Beijing has also stepped up military exercises near the island and in the Taiwan Strait, the waterway separating the mainland from the self-governed island, which Beijing considers an inalienable part of China.
In its first national defence review released in December, Tsais government expanded its defensive focus from coastal areas to include the sea and air around the island.
Taiwans United Daily News reported on Monday that the islands defence ministry planned to buy two battalions, or 108, M1A2 tanks, but the army hoped Taipei could buy more.
Yen did not give a number but did say any purchase would be smaller than past procurements.
As part of its overall strategy, Taipei has enlisted its defence research institute, the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, to upgrade its ageing M60A3 tanks.
The US-based Defence News website reported in 2015 that Taipei had been looking for surplus US Army M1 tanks to replace its M60s, but tanks were not a high priority given the islands mountainous interior and coastal wetlands. There were also concerns that the islands bridges were not strong enough for tanks and that there was not enough military land set aside for their use.
Meanwhile, the Taiwan Defence Industry Development Association said on the weekend that US government officials would not attend a Taiwan-US defence contractors forum in Taiwan next week.
Central News Agency reported that the Taiwan-US Defence Business Forum, to be held in Kaohsiung on May 10, would be a civilian exchange.
It said officials are expected to meet at the main US-Taiwan Defence Industry Conference, which will be hosted in the United States in autumn.
This is a political move. The Taiwanese know that the Abrams manufacturing line has huge support in Congress. A toe in the American defense industry would signal greater defense support for other types of hardware.
Militarily, it’s risky. How many countries have ordered US military systems only to have the next administration, or, even the same administration, stop delivery?
These are not currantly in production.
There is some thought that the Abrams falls behind German Leopards and of all places the South Korean Black Panther Tanks. I’m sure South Korea could build them pretty cheap compared to an Abrams. But I’m all for putting Americans back to work since the Abrams production line is not running currently.
It’s not an appropriate weapon for Taiwan’s terrain and needs. Taiwan might be better off with a smaller, lighter, move maneuverable platform
I agree, my place of employment used to make some of the parts for the Abrams. When the Abrams production line shut down a few years back, the decision was made to scrap the machines. It was a sad thing. The old Continental Motors plant, Muskegon, Mi. If you want to see one of our products, google AVDS 1790.
Anyone hear of China’s 2020 plan? I believe I read that correctly. China’s push by 2020 to reunite Taiwan with the mainland.
Buy more submarines. Invasion can only be done by sea.
Taiwan would probably be better off with a vehicle that has the 120 mm gun and lighter armor. They could get more bang for their buck since its an island and they may need to move faster on lighter bridges.
I bet they could start making some more...especially if Taiwan orders 2000 of them!
That’s a better idea. Sink the ships carrying the heavy forces and equipment. The lighter airborne stuff would have a much more difficult time trying to take Taiwan. Taiwan needs the best diesel subs and best torpedoes.