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The US State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States of what it referred to as “Taiwan Advanced Tactical Data Link System Upgrade Planning and related equipment”, the US Defense Security Co-operation Agency (DSCA) announced on 21 February 2024.

The sale, which is worth an estimated USD 75 million (EUR 69 million), has been passed to the US Congress for final approval.

The DSCA noted that the Taiwanese request included “cross-domain solutions; high-assurance devices; Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers; communications equipment; requirements analysis; engineering; technical services; and other related elements of logistics and program support”.

The agency explained that the equipment “will improve the recipient’s ability to meet current and future threats by enhancing communications and network security, and providing infrastructure to allow the secure flow of tactical information”.

The DSCA stated that the sale “serves US national, economic, and security interests by supporting the recipient’s continuing efforts to modernise its armed forces and maintain a credible defensive capability”. It added that the sale “will help improve the security of the recipient and assist in maintaining political stability, military balance, and economic progress in the region”.

Taiwan’s armed forces were always likely to be numerically outnumbered by the forces of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) as Beijing vows to ultimately regain what it considers to be a breakaway province, but China’s military technological successes in recent years have put the island nation under even more pressure.

It is therefore vital that Taiwan’s armed forces retain communications and cyber security.

A NASA space radar image of Taiwanese capital Taipei. The US State Department has approved secure datalink upgrades for Taiwan’s armed forces. (Image: NASA)