The U.S. State department approved the Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of 400 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, along with associated road-mobile launchers, radars and technical support, to Taiwan in a deal worth up to $2.37 billion. The deal was realized on the same day that China announced sanctions against several US companies selling weapons to Taiwan.
The missiles, Boeing’s Harpoon Block II, would complement 100 Harpoon Coastal Defense System Launcher Transporter Units, 25 radar trucks, four exercise missiles, parts, spares and support as part of the deal.
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said that the potential sale, which still needs to be approved by the US Congress, would improve Taiwan’s capability “to meet current and future threats by providing a flexible solution to augment existing surface and air defences”. It also stated that the acquisition of the HCDSs and related missiles would improve Taiwanese security and assist in maintaining political stability, military balance, and economic progress in the region.
Taiwan already operates a more capable road-mobile missile, the Hsiung Feng III, which is supersonic and has a range of about 250 miles, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The issue is that they have not been able to produce the missile in the numbers needed to be a suitable deterrent, Sayers said, adding that combining HF-III with 400 Harpoon missiles would have an impact.