Taiwanese defense officials have been forced to regroup on plans for artillery forces after being told that the US has pushed back the estimated delivery date for 40 howitzer systems by at least three years as Washington races to supply more weapons to war-torn Ukraine.
Taipei’s $750 million order was “crowded out” of US production lines, delaying delivery to 2026 at the soonest, rather than starting in 2023 as planned, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said on Monday. As a result, the ministry is looking at other available weapons systems, such as truck-based rocket launchers produced by Lockheed Martin Corp., to fill the void and will submit a budget proposal once a decision has been made.
Taiwan is trying to modernize its military with precision and long-range weaponry to fend off a possible attack by mainland China, which considers the republic to be a breakaway province. The artillery order was approved last year, making it Taiwan’s first arms deal with the US since President Joe Biden took office, and it was to include 40 155mm M109A6 self-propelled “Paladin” howitzer systems. It also covered related equipment, such as support vehicles and precision guidance kits.