U.S. State Department approves Harpoon missiles to Taiwan worth $2.37 billion

The US State Department has approved the potential sale of 100 Boeing-made Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems to Taiwan in a deal worth as much as $2.37bn, the Pentagon said on Monday, just a day after China said it would impose sanctions on US companies involved in weapons’ sales to the island.

Monday’s formal notifications to Congress by the State Department covered the proposed sale of up to 100 Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems, which includes 400 RGM-84L-4 Harpoon Block II Surface Launched Missiles to serve as coastal defence cruise missiles.

The move came days after the State Department approved the potential sale of three other weapons systems to Taiwan, including sensors, missiles and artillery with a potential value of $1.8bn.

On Monday in Beijing, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman told reporters China will impose sanctions on Lockheed Martin, Boeing Defense, Raytheon and other US companies involved in Washington’s arms sales to Taiwan.

US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement: “We deplore Beijing’s efforts to retaliate against US and foreign companies for their sales that support Taiwan’s legitimate self-defence requirements.”

Taiwan said it welcomed confirmation of the latest US weapons sale.

“(It) demonstrates the US government’s commitment to the Taiwan Relations Act and Six Assurances,” the ministry wrote in a Tweet. “It also enables the country to maintain a robust self-defense, & regional peace & stability.”

The US and China are at loggerheads over issues from trade to human rights and the disputed South China Sea, and President Donald Trump has made a tough approach to China central to his campaign for a second term in office in elections on November 3.

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The US is bound by law to provide Taiwan, a self-ruled island that is one of Asia’s most vibrant democracies, with the means to defend itself.

Last week, the State Department sent notifications to Capitol Hill for the first tranche of arms sales which included truck-based rocket launchers made by Lockheed, Standoff Land Attack Missile Expanded Response missiles and related equipment made by Boeing and external sensor pods for F-16 jets.

About RGM-84 Harpoon Block II

The RGM-84 Harpoon is a ground-launched derivative of ship-launched all-weather, over-the-horizon, anti-ship missile. Its low-level, sea-skimming cruise trajectory, active radar guidance and warhead design assure high survivability and effectiveness.

The Harpoon Block II expands the capabilities of the Harpoon anti-ship weapon. Harpoon Block II is capable of executing both anti-ship and land-strike missions at a distance of 150nmi. The missile uses GPS-aided inertial navigation to hit a designated target aimpoint. The 227 kg blast warhead delivers lethal firepower against a wide variety of land-based targets, including coastal defense sites, surface-to-air missile sites, exposed aircraft, port/industrial facilities, and ships in port.

The Harpoon missile launcher can be mounted on a truck. The missile is fire from container launchers mounted at the rear of a military truck chassis.  Another truck holds the Command Launch System electronics and a generator. Park the two trucks, connect them with cables, and the anti-ship missile battery is ready to control straits or prevent ships from threatening friendly soil. The Danish Navy has already in service a truck-mounted version Harpoon missile used as Coastal Air Defense System. 

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