1.1 billion dollar Taiwan missile contract to Raytheon

1.1 billion dollar Taiwan missile contract to Raytheon

US defense firm Raytheon said Wednesday it was awarded a contract worth 1.1 billion dollars for new Patriot missile systems to Taiwan.

The contract had been in the works since 2008 when the Pentagon notified Congress it intended to allow Taiwan to buy newer, advanced interceptor missiles and other defense equipment.

The military sales have drawn fierce objections from China, which considers Taiwan a breakaway province.

Raytheon, based in Massachusetts, said it received notification of approval of the contract for ground-system hardware valued at 965.6 million dollars and a spare parts contract valued at 134.4 million dollars.

A Raytheon official said the contract will include new advanced missile launchers and other equipment, but that the missiles themselves would be part of a separate contract.

Raytheon has in recent years won contracts to upgrade Taiwan's existing Patriot missile systems, which are designed to intercept incoming ballistic missiles.

"The Patriot system is a vital element to providing superior integrated air and missile defense capabilities for the protection of Taiwan," said Daniel Smith, president of Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems.

"Raytheon has provided advanced technology, innovation and support in Taiwan for more than 40 years, and we are honored to continue that partnership today and in the future."

China now has about 1,500 missiles pointed at Taiwan, with no signs that the build-up is about to stop anytime soon, a spokesman for the island's government said recently.

The figure includes short-range ballistic missiles and cruise missiles, the defence ministry spokesman told AFP on condition of anonymity.

China has objected to the sale of the weapons systems, saying it violated a US commitment to reduce weapons transfers to Taiwan.