US Informs Taiwan Of Howitzer Delivery Delay Due To "Crowded" Production Line
Taiwan has confirmed that US weapons systems slated for delivery have been delayed. It's being widely viewed as directly related to the ongoing war in Ukraine, where Washington has committed an unprecedented amount of resources. An official statement cited a "crowded" production line.
“In response to media reports on the case of the M109A6 self-propelled guns arms sale, the Ministry of National Defense said today that the M109A6 arms purchase [by Taiwan] was crowded out in the production line. The US side informs us that this system will not be delivered to the Republic of China until 2026 at the earliest”, the ministry said in a statement posted to its website.
As a result Taipei is now said to be looking at 'alternative' weapons options. This as there's been abundant commentary of late paralleling the Ukraine and Taiwan situations, despite Beijing's insistence that they are not at all comparable, given China sees the democratic-run island as part of its 'sovereign territory'.
As for the howitzers in question, last year the US had approved for possible sail up to 40 155mm M109A6 Medium Self-Propelled Howitzer artillery systems to Taiwan. The deal is said to be valued at up to $750 million. Previously Taiwanese media had cited a delivery timeframe of at least by 2023 - so the fact that its defense ministry is now saying 2026 - a full three years later, is a hugely significant gap.
According to some regional observers, Taiwan may not have an extra three years to prepare for a feared Chinese invasion.
Reuters writes of possible alternatives to fill the gap: "Taiwan is considering other precision and long-range alternative weapons systems including truck-based rocket launchers made by Lockheed Martin Corp called the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS," based on the defense ministry statement.
BREAKING: The Pentagon has asked China to hold off on invading Taiwan until more Howitzer tanks can be built.— Yes. It's Me. (@ElysiusThor) May 2, 2022
And further, "It did not say why the production line was snarled, but the United States has been ramping up its military support and supply of equipment for Ukraine following Russia’s invasion."
Over the weekend Taiwan’s foreign minister Joseph Wu said, "When there’s a war, we need friends and allies to support Taiwan, as in the case of Ukraine."
"The people here in Taiwan are ready and prepared to defend ourselves," he added. "We are asking the United States and other governments to provide Taiwan with necessary defensive articles, so that we are able to defend ourselves."