Taiwan to deploy 3 more PAC-3 antimissile batteries

Taipei, April 25 (CNA) Three U.S.-made Patriot antimissile air defense batteries will be deployed in southern Taiwan, in addition to the one already in northern Taiwan, Deputy Defense Minister Andrew Yang said Thursday.

Responding to lawmakers' questions in the Legislative Yuan's Foreign and National Defense Committee, Yang said the three Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missile batteries will be used to boost the country's defense capability.

The PAC-3 missile batteries, part of a US$6.4 billion arms package supplied by the United States in recent years, will be deployed in southern Taiwan, he said.

Meanwhile, Ting Chung-wu, chief of staff at the Air Force Command, said in response to a lawmaker's questions that none of Taiwan's 145 F-16 A/B fighters have been upgraded under a US$3.8 billion program to retrofit the country's aging fighter fleet in the U.S.

On the issue of Taiwan's recent military exercises, Navy Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Hsu Pei-shan said the defense ministry has identified five navy officers who will be held responsible for a glitch in the Han Kuang live drills in the offshore county of Penghu. He however did not disclose the names of the officers.

The incident occurred when the 76mm gun on a Chingchiang-class patrol vessel failed just before it was scheduled to begin firing during an anti-landing drill in Penghu on April 17.

The ministry concluded in a report that since the problem was recorded on the same vessel two days prior to the live-fire exercise, the relevant personnel should be held responsible for the gun's failure during the drill.

In related news, the Navy confirmed late Wednesday that an officer from a Chengkung-class frigate that was involved in the Hang Kuang exercise had engaged in gambling with his subordinates on board another vessel that was taking them back to Kaohsiung on April 19 after the drill.

Yang apologized Thursday in the committee over the incident and said Defense Minister Kao Hua-chu has already ordered an investigation into the matter and severe punishment will be handed down to the officer, Yang said.

The gambling incident was first reported in the Chinese-language Apple Daily.

Focus Taiwan