News 2022

Taiwan will receive 108 Abrams tanks and 29 HIMARS missile systems amid rising tensions with China

As tensions with China continue to escalate, Taiwan is actively building up its military capabilities with the support of the United States. According to a November 30, 2023 Taiwan News report, Taiwan plans to send 114 soldiers to the United States next year for special military training. The training will focus on High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and advanced M1A2T Abrams tanks.

In 2024, Taiwan will receive the first batch of 38 M1A2T Abrams tanks and 11 HIMARS complexes. Up Media writes, “This event is part of a larger agreement with the United States that will begin training the Taiwanese military in the operation and maintenance of sophisticated weapons starting in January. The trained soldiers will play an important role in enhancing Taiwan’s combat capabilities, serving as instructors in operation of tanks and missile systems."

The "Budget of the Ministry of National Defense of Taiwan for 2024" states that 108 M1A2T Abrams tanks, the delivery of which was agreed upon with the United States back in 2019, will begin arriving in Taiwan next year. The delivery schedule includes 38 tanks in the first batch, then 42 in 2025 and the final 28 in 2026.

The M1A2 Abrams is a modernized version of the "original" American M1A1 Abrams tank, widely used by the United States military. This modern main battle tank features improved performance in a variety of aspects, including armor, firepower and electronics. Its armor, consisting of a complex composite with the addition of layers of depleted uranium, provides reliable protection against a variety of threats. An equally important aspect is its firepower. The tank is armed with a 120 mm smoothbore cannon capable of firing various types of ammunition. In addition, the M1A2 is equipped with state-of-the-art electronics, including advanced targeting and communications systems, which also enhance its combat capabilities.

In addition to the tanks, Taiwan is awaiting delivery of 11 HIMARS missile systems approved by the US in 2020. (An agreement was subsequently reached to purchase a further 18 units). The first batch of these missile systems will arrive next year, and the contract will be fully closed by 2025. An additional 18 units are expected to arrive in 2026.

The High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) is a highly mobile, lightweight artillery system used by the United States military and some allied forces. Designed for rapid deployment and precision fire, HIMARS is capable of firing both guided and unguided missiles, as well as Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) projectiles.

Mounted on a standard cargo platform, it provides strategic flexibility and can operate in a variety of terrains. The main advantage of the vehicle is its ability to deliver a massive fire strike in a very short time, and its mobility allows you to quickly change position, dodging enemy return fire. The combination of maneuverability, firepower and high accuracy makes HIMARS a valuable asset in modern combat scenarios, writes Army Recognition experts.

Taiwan's defense budget for next year outlines plans to send 84 officers and soldiers to the United States to train in the M1A2T version of the Abrams tank. Retraining is planned to begin in January and be completed by the end of the year. In addition, 30 people must be trained in HIMARS systems. The courses will begin in February and will be completed by October next year.

Taiwan, amid rising tensions with China, is increasing its defense with American M1A2 Abrams tanks and HIMARS missile launchers. Pictured is the M142 HIMARS MLRS, a highly mobile artillery missile system of the US Army. (Image source: Army Recognition online with Department of Defense photos)
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Army Recognition writes that after completing retraining in the United States, military personnel will return to Taiwan and take on key functions as instructors for the newly acquired weapons systems. Their responsibilities will include developing teaching aids and lesson plans, as well as conducting educational and training programs.
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