Taiwan has again delayed its planned purchase of 12 ex-US Navy Lockheed Martin P-3C Orion anti-submarine warfare aircraft and three Raytheon/Lockheed Patriot PAC-3 air-defence missile systems. Industry sources say the defence committee in Taiwan’s legislature earlier this month pulled funds that had been earmarked in the 2006 budget to prepare for the P-3C purchase and to launch the PAC-3 procurement.

The planned purchases are part of a proposed special budget that has been delayed since early last year by political wrangling. Sources say the ongoing delay has frustrated Washington, which first approved the sales in 2001, and that US officials are threatening to not approve the export of any other big-ticket items to Taipei until it is resolved. The special budget will not be reconsidered until after local elections early next month, and sources say the P-3C deal could be killed due to a lack of support.

Source: Flight International