WASHINGTON — The State Department has approved a possible $2 billion Foreign Military Sale of M1A2T Abrams tanks to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO), which represents the interests of Taiwan in the U.S.
Congress was notified July 8 of the sale.
TECRO requested to buy 108 of the tanks as well as 122 M2 Chrysler Mount Machine Guns, 216 M240 machine guns, 14 M88A2 HERCULES vehicles, 16 M1070A1 Heavy Equipment Transporters and associated rounds, and communications equipment as well as other systems like smoke grenade launchers.
General Dynamics Land Systems will build the tanks at Anniston Army Depot, Alabama, and at Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio.
The M88A2 recovery vehicle will be built by BAE Systems in York, Pennsylvania. Oshkosh will build the HETs.
The possible purchase of the tanks in Tawain has been uncertain over the past several years. Taiwan originally planned to purchase 200 tanks but then, due to budgetary concerns, dropped the planned number to 120.
Then in the fall of 2017, Taiwan appeared to walk back on its plan to buy surplus M1 tanks, deciding instead that it would locally upgrade the M60A3 main battle tanks already in service.
In the summer of 2018, Taiwan then announced its intention to buy 108 of the tanks.
China has condemned Taiwan’s move to buy the American tanks among other U.S. weapons systems like fighter jets.
Jen Judson is the land warfare reporter for Defense News. She has covered defense in the Washington area for 10 years. She was previously a reporter at Politico and Inside Defense. She won the National Press Club's best analytical reporting award in 2014 and was named the Defense Media Awards' best young defense journalist in 2018.