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Taiwan will buy 135 AGM-84H Standoff Land Attack Missile Expanded Response (SLAM-ER) Missiles and related equipment from the United States. This deal has an estimated cost of around US$1bn and is part of continuing efforts to modernise Taiwan’s armed forces and maintain a credible defensive capability.

The deal also includes four ATM-84H SLAM-ER Telemetry Missiles and 12 CATM-84H Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM) with Boeing as the principal contractor. However, there are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

“The proposed sale will improve Taipei’s capability to meet current and future threats as it provides all-weather, day and night, precision attack capabilities against both moving and stationary targets.  The country will be able to employ a highly reliable and effective system to increase their warfighting effectiveness as needed, which can counter or deter aggressions by demonstrated precision against surface targets,” an official spokesman of the State Department says.

The AGM-84K SLAM-ER is an air-launched, day/night, adverse-weather, over-the-horizon, precision strike missile that provides a long range option for pre-planned and target of opportunity missions against land and sea targets.

Revolutionary

The SLAM-ER’s roots go back to the original HARPOON anti-ship missile which entered fleet service in the late 1970s. Because of emerging operational requirements, the SLAM was developed as a derivative of the HARPOON.  SLAM-ER incorporates:

  • a GPS aided guidance system
  • imaging infrared seeker and two-way data link for man-in-the-loop control
  • improved missile aerodynamic performance characteristics that allows both long range and flexible terminal attack profiles
  • an ordnance section with good penetrating power and lethality

SLAM-ER uses automatic target acquisition, a revolutionary technology that helps improve target acquisition in cluttered scenes, overcomes most infrared countermeasures and mitigating the effects of environmentally degraded conditions. The SLAM-ER can be launched and controlled by F/A-18C/D/E/F and P-3 platforms.

J C Menon