The U.S. State Department has approved a possible sale to Taiwan of one hundred eight M1A2T Abrams main battle tanks and related equipment for an estimated cost of up to $2.0 billion, the Pentagon said on Monday.
The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of the possible sale of 108 M1A2T Abrams tanks, 14 M88A2 Hercules recovery vehicles, 16 M1070A1 Heavy Equipment Transporters (HET) and related equipment and support for an estimated cost of $2.0 billion.
“This proposed sale of MlA2 tanks will contribute to the modernization of the recipient’s main battle tank fleet, enhancing its ability to meet current and future regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense”, said the Defense Security Cooperation Agency , adding that “These tanks will contribute to the recipient’s goal of updating its military capability while further enhancing interoperability with the United States and other partners. The recipient will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.”
The MlA2T tank prime contractor will be General Dynamics Land Systems, Sterling Heights, Michigan. The M88A2 recovery vehicle prime contractor will be BAE, York, Pennsylvania and the M1070Al Heavy Equipment Transporter (HET) prime contractor will be Oshkosh, Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
The M1A2T is a special configuration of the M1A2C, the latest variant of Abrams tanks in production. M1A2T’s improvements focus on increasing the electrical power margin, Vehicle Health Management Systems, integrated counter-improvised explosive device protection, a new Auxiliary Power Unit, embedded training and an ammunition data link.
The Taipei Times cited an anonymous source reported that Taiwan’s government will buy tanks to equip two armored battalions, with the training of a seed cadre and a five-year supply of spare parts included in the package.
At the moment, the Armed Forces of Taiwan are in desperate need to update the fleet of their battle tanks, which primarily consist of obsolete tanks of the M60A3 Patton and CM-11 Brave Tiger type. Under expert assessment, Taiwan needs to purchase more than 500 new tanks for parity with the armed forces of continental China.