Taiwan News reported that the Ministry of National Defense (MND) has said it plans to purchase an additional batch of Patriot III MSE missiles from the U.S. in 2025 and 2026 to strengthen its air defense capabilities. The MND signed an agreement with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) on Dec. 27 for follow-up support and maintenance for the new Patriot missiles. The deal, which totals NT$201 million (US$7.26 million), would see Raytheon technicians dispatched to Taiwan to assist in the deployment of the missiles and ensure system stability from 2025-2026.
Taiwan and the U.S. agreed on a procurement deal for similar systems during talks in 2019. While the new missiles have a longer reach, they are also larger, allowing only 12 units per launch vehicle as opposed to 16 for the previous Patriot variant. The delivery and stationing of the original Patriots were completed in 2017 with a budget of more than NT$179 billion (US$6.28 billion). Previous reports have mentioned that 300 new projectiles are being added to the nation’s existing arsenal of 350 older Patriot missiles.
In December, Taiwan announced it will carry out trial recertification of its Patriot missiles to see if it can do it domestically in the future, instead of sending them biennially to the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Target drone will first be launched to simulate a Chinese medium-range missile, before Taiwan fires off two Patriot III missiles to intercept it. A live-fire verification test of Taiwan’s Patriot missiles is carried out every two years and it can only be performed in the U.S., due to security concerns. PAC-3 hade been stationed on Taiwan’s east coast in a response to China’s changing military strategy.
MIM-104F Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) is a significant PATRIOT upgrade to nearly every aspect of the system. Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control is the prime contractor on the PAC-3 Missile Segment Enhancement (MSE) upgrade to the Patriot air defense system which will make the missile more agile and extend its range by up to 50%. The PAC-3 Missile Segment upgrade consists of the PAC-3 missile, a very agile hit-to-kill interceptor, the PAC-3 missile canisters (in four packs), a fire solution computer, and an Enhanced Launcher Electronics System (ELES).