The State Department has approved a potential $619 million deal with Taiwan covering the sale of missiles for its F-16 fighter jets.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress on Wednesday of the new foreign military sale.

Raytheon’s AMRAAM air-to-air missile. (Photo: Raytheon)

“The United States’ support to Taiwan and steps Taiwan takes to enhance its self-defense capabilities contribute to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region,” a State Department official said in a statement.

Under the deal, Taiwan would receive 100 High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARM) and 200 AIM-120C-8 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM), both built by Raytheon Missiles and Defense [RTX]. 

The deal also includes 23 HARM training missiles, AIM-120C Captive Air Training Missiles, four AMRAAM guidance sections, 26 LAU-129 multi-purpose launchers, LAU-118A missile launchers with Aircraft Launcher Interface Computer and dummy air training missiles.

“The proposed sale will contribute to the recipient’s capability to provide for the defense of its airspace, regional security, and interoperability with the United States,” the DSCA said in a statement.

Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, the Pentagon’s press secretary, was asked Thursday about reports of Chinese officials expressing disappointment over the newly approved FMS case with Taiwan.

“The United States’ support to Taiwan and its self-defense capabilities contribute to the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and within the region. And of course, this is all in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act,” Ryder said, while referring specific questions on the FMS case to the DSCA.

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), chair of the new House Select Committee on China, urged Congress last week to address the reported $19 billion backlog of FMS cases with Taiwan following a trip to Taipei this week where he met with senior government officials (Defense Daily, Feb. 24). 

“I return from my trip to Taiwan even more convinced that the time to arm Taiwan to the teeth was yesterday. Taiwan is on the frontlines of authoritarian expansion. We must surge hard power west of the international date line in order to deter a Chinese Communist Party invasion before it’s too late,” Gallagher said in a statement following his visit. “In particular, we should move heaven and earth to clear the nearly $19 billion backlog of Foreign Military Sales Items that have been approved but not delivered to Taiwan.”

A group of Republican lawmakers also recently called for President Biden’s upcoming fiscal year 2024 budget request to include up to $2 billion in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) grants for Taiwan, which would go toward purchasing U.S.-made defense equipment (Defense Daily, Feb. 17). 

The lawmakers note the FY ‘23 National Defense Authorization Act authorized up to $2 billion in FMF grants for Taiwan from FY ‘23 to ‘27, while the final appropriations bill did not include the grants but rather loans that Taipei would have to pay back.