Taiwan – Second-hand News?

The Taiwanese government has abandoned plans to procure a second modified Raytheon AN/FPS-115 PAVE PAWS air surveillance radar from the United States.

The Ultra High Frequency AN/FPS-115 operates in the 420-450 megahertz range, and is said to be capable of detecting incoming ballistic missiles at a range of circa 4,827km (2,606nm).

In February 2004 the US Department of Defense notified Congress of its intention to sell Taiwan two of these radars for a total of €1.4 billion ($1.8 billion). A single radar was then purchased from Raytheon via the US Air Force in June 2005 for €583 million ($752 million). This radar was then installed at Loshan Mountain in northern Taiwan, where testing commenced in November last year.

Reports surfaced in late September from the Agence France Presse news agency that plans to procure a second radar had been abandoned by the country’s Defense Minister Kao Hua-chu, according to a spokesperson from the Taiwanese Air Force. So far including its procurement, installation and preparation the radar at Loshan is said to have cost €930 million ($1.2 billion).

The Agence France Presse report went on to note that an additional €105 million ($136 million) has been requested by the contractor to complete the installation at Loshan. These funds have been requested for maintenance, and additional research and development for the radar. The total costs of the radar so far, including the recent payment request, now total an estimated €1 billion ($1.4 billion).

The sums spent on the purchase of the radar, its construction and its testing have been the cause of political controversy in Taiwan, with members of the Taiwanese parliament’s defence committee criticising the amount of money spent so far.

However, a report in the Taipei Times on 1st October cited the C4ISR Journal and a report by the US Congressional Research Service noting that plans to acquire the second radar had actually been abandoned back in 2007.

Regardless of when the decision was made to abandon this procurement plans, it seems that for now Taiwan will have to rely on its single AN/FPS-115 to provide ballistic missile early warning over the north of the island.

Published by Thomas Withington

Thomas Withington is a writer and analyst specialising in electronic warfare, radar and military communications.

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