Taiwan's Ministry of National Defence has requested the government to approve purchase of 108 US-made M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks.
According to Taipei Times, the ministry decided to purchase the tanks for two armored battalions under the Sixth Army Corps stationed in northern Taiwan, after it turned down the army’s request to buy 500 tanks.
The new tanks are to replace some of the M60A3 Patton and CM-11 Brave Tiger tanks in service, the source said, adding that the Executive Yuan has earmarked about NT$30 billion (US$9.87 billion) for the purchase.
The budget covers only the initial cost, as the US opens production lines next year, the report said, adding that the delivery of the contract is likely to carry a substantially higher cost.
The tank purchase is only a part of the army’s plan to replace the vehicles, weapons and other equipment that have been in service for more than 25 years, the defense official said.
The army’s budget proposal, titled “the Follow-up Plan for the Procurement of Important New Combat Systems for the Army,” called for the acquisition of tanks, mobile air defense systems, anti-tank guided missiles, self-propelled mortars and 155mm howitzers, armored troop carriers, tracked recovery vehicles and rifles, he said.