Taiwan’s military are running out of money because of huge outstanding bills for the US and a reduced defense budget, writes Wendell Minnick in Defense News. New procurements might not be possible in the upcoming three years.
Wendell Minnick in his weblog:
Taiwan is facing more than $13 billion in bills for arms released by the U.S. government since 2007.
The overall defense budget has dropped since 2008 — from $10.5 billion to a proposed $9.2 billion for 2011, submitted to the legislature Aug. 30. The new budget represents 16.6 percent of the national budget and 2.7 percent of the gross domestic product.
The government is also, due to increasing economic hardship, borrowing money to finance the 2011 national budget — something that is relatively unheard of in Taiwan, sources said.
Still, procurement plans are still in place for the next ten years.
The list includes 66 F-16C/D fighter aircraft, six C-27J cargo aircraft, upgrades for 145 aging F-16A/B fighters, upgrades to two Dutch-built diesel submarines and six French-built La Fayette frigates, two more U.S.-built Newport-class tank landing ships and eight new diesel submarines — a longstanding request.
Taiwan’s Air Force has also been considering buying T-50 Golden Eagle attack jet trainers from Korea Aerospace Industries, Seoul, to replace aging AT-3 Tzu Chiang attack trainers and F-5 fighters used for training.