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Taiwan Signs $1.75 Billion in Defense Contracts With US 

Taiwan has signed contracts worth $1.75 billion for the purchase of two American weapon systems, Janes reported, citing the country’s ministry of defense.

Although the ministry didn’t specify the systems, Janes revealed that the two contracts are for Lockheed Martin M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers and Boeing Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems (HCDSs).

The weapons sales were cleared by the US government in October last year as part of outreach with the territory to enhance cooperation between Washington and Taipei.

The Systems

Lockheed Martin’s HIMARS is a wheeled launcher that fires a mix of precision munitions and uses less manpower to operate. HIMARS carries a single six-pack of GMLRS rockets or one TACMS surface-to-surface missile with a range of 100-160 kilometers (62-99 miles).

The Harpoon is an all-weather, over-the-horizon, anti-ship missile system with a “low-level, sea-skimming cruise trajectory with active radar guidance,” manufacturer Boeing wrote on its website.

China-Taiwan Tension

Taiwan is facing increased pressure from China, particularly in the last few months, in the form of official statements reiterating Beijing’s long-term aim of merging the territory with the mainland, coupled with increased war preparation by the Chinese military.

Last month, Taiwan witnessed over a dozen incursions by Chinese military aircraft entering the territory’s air defense identification zone.

Amid this tense atmosphere, the Taiwanese Republic of China Air Force (RoCAF) in March deployed the first tranche of 42 upgraded F-16 multirole fighter aircraft at Chiayi Air Base in southwestern Taiwan.

The entire air force fleet of 141 F-16A/B/C/D Fighting Falcons is slated to be upgraded to the standard of the latest F-16V by 2023.

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