Taiwan’s M109A6 howitzers are late, the US is offering HIMARS

TAIPEI, ($1=29.53 Taiwan New Dollars) — The 40 M109A6 howitzers that Taiwan ordered and paid the United States for approximately $ 750 million are behind schedule and delivery. Taipei was informed by the US government that 2023 was impossible to fulfill this order and proposed a new delivery plan – 2026.

Taiwan's M109A6 howitzers are late, the US is offering HIMARS
Photo: US Army / Staff Sgt. Richard Wrigley

The war in Ukraine has affected Taiwan’s order. “Crowded production line” is the US explanation to the island nation’s Department of Defense. For this reason, Taipei is considering the option to purchase a high-power system. The United States has proposed to Taiwan that this be the precision High Mobility Artillery Rocket System [HIMARS], manufactured by Lockheed Martin. Taiwan is considering the possibility, according to Taiwan’s defense ministry.

Taiwan will have to make a decision quickly as it pursues a policy of modernizing its weapons systems amid the ever-increasing threat of military conflict with China. Taiwan has the Patriot system and the United States has already approved training for the Taiwanese military, but that will not be enough. The delayed order for the 40 M109A6 howitzers is already being criticized in the US House of Representatives. “The nation has been waiting for more than a year for military equipment it has already purchased to defend against China,” said Kevin McCarthy, a minority leader in the US House of Representatives.

About M142 HIMARS

The M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System [HIMARS] is a light multiple rocket launcher designed in the late 1990s. This system also falls into the category of tactical ballistic system, because it fires a missile type MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System [ATACMS].

The manufacturer of M142 HIMARS is Lockheed Martin. The system has documented participation in three wars: the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, and the Syrian Civil War. According to unconfirmed information and according to the claims of Ukraine’s military intelligence, the M142 HIMARS was delivered by the United States to the Ukrainian armed forces, and the system is actively involved in the war against Russia.

The United States, Singapore, the UAE, Jordan, and Romania are the operators of M142 HIMARS at the moment. Poland is the next country to acquire [or has already acquired] this missile system, and potential customers of M142 HIMARS are at least ten other countries from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

M142 HIMARS launches 227 mm caliber missiles. Depending on the type of ammunition, the system has a different operating range – from 2 to 300 km and from 300 to 500 km if it uses Precision Strike Missile [PsM] – a missile also manufactured by Lockheed Martin. The crew consists of three people, the main armament is 6 × 227 mm M26, M30 / M31 series rockets, or 1 MGM-140 ATACMS missile.

American 227mm M270 MLRS and M142 HIMARS strike in Donetsk region
Photo: Wikipedia

The M142 HIMARS is mounted on a standard Army M1140 truck frame. It is powered by a diesel engine that guarantees a top speed of 85 km / h [52.8 mph]. With one refueling of the fuel tank, the system can travel just under 500 km.

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