U.S. approves potential sales of Howitzers to Taiwan – Pentagon

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FILE PHOTO: Flags of Taiwan and U.S. are placed for a meeting in Taipei, Taiwan March 27, 2018. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department approved the potential sale of 40 155mm M109A6 Medium Self-Propelled Howitzer artillery systems to Taiwan in a deal valued at up to $750 million, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.

This comes after a series of arms sales last year that included drones and coastal missile defenses meant to upgrade the island’s capabilities and discourage a Chinese invasion. The Biden administration has approved other direct commercial sales of arms to Taiwan since taking office.

The package would include the howitzers, 1,698 precision guidance kits for munitions, spares, training, ground stations and upgrades for Taiwan’s previous generation of howitzers, the Pentagon said.

The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of the possible sale on Wednesday.

Despite approval by the State Department, the notification does not indicate that a contract has been signed or that negotiations have concluded.

The Pentagon said BAE Systems PLC was the prime contractor for the weapons.