US approves sale of Sidewinder and Harpoon missiles to Taiwan to try to stop Chinese aggression

In a move that is sure to make China more agitated, the US State Department on Friday approved the sale of 100 Sidewinder AIM-9X Block II missiles and 60 AGM-84L-1 Harpoon Block II missiles to Taiwan.

The proposed sale of the $85.6 million Sidewinder missiles “will enhance Taiwan’s ability to counter or deter aggression through demonstration of precision against air targets.” The Harpoon missiles, costing $355 million, will help combat or prevent maritime aggression, coastal blockades and amphibious attacks,” the Defense and Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said on the two approvals.

A serviceman inspects a charge of an AIM-9 sidewinder air-to-air missile near the Harpoon A-84 anti-ship missile on an F16V fighter jet at Hualien Air Base in Hualien County, southeast Taiwan, Aug. 2022. (Photo: AP Photo/Johnson Lai)

Taiwan has been the subject of continued Chinese intimidation in the form of overflights and navigation of warships near the island nation. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) conducted an exercise with the three services last month to simulate the landing of soldiers on the island to achieve “unification” (Chinese term for a military takeover of the island of Taiwan).

The Sidewinder missiles are designed to fit Taiwan’s warplanes, including current F-16 jets as well as the newest F-16V warplanes that have been ordered. Harpoons are designed to be launched from air and sea platforms.

The acquisition of the two potent types of missiles will give the Chinese PLA something to worry about as they are considered by experts to be better than competing missiles in the PLA’s inventory.

Taiwan has exercised caution in combating Chinese intimidation. However, earlier this week, it fired on an alleged Chinese drone after issuing a warning indicating a toughening stance by the Taipei government.

While the Harpoon missies are made by Boeing, the Sidewinders are made by Raytheon.

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: approves sale Sidewinder Harpoon missiles Taiwan stop Chinese aggression

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