07:08 GMT +314 October 2019
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    Taiwan Air Force F-16 fighter (File)

    F-16 Sniper Pods Part of $330 Million US-Taiwan Arms Package

    © AFP 2019 / Chiang Ying-ying
    Asia & Pacific
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    Taiwan is buying 18 advanced targeting pods for its F-16 aircraft as part of its deal with the US to buy some $330 million worth of defense materiel.

    According to manufacturer Lockheed Martin, the Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod (ATP) "detects, identifies, automatically tracks and laser-designates small tactical targets at long ranges." The targeting pods are used in conjunction with laser- and GPS-guided missiles fired at stationary or mobile targets, the company said.

    Beijing has called on the US to cancel the deal with Taiwan, as Beijing sees the self-ruling island as a runaway province, the South China Morning Post reported September 25.

    "Sniper ATP continues to be a must-have product on platforms worldwide for its superior performance and reliability," a Lockheed executive said in a September 26 announcement.
    "The proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security and defensive capability of the recipient, which has been and continues to be a force for political stability, military balance and economic progress in the region," the US State Department announced on September 24.

    "Beijing is much more confident now, and it's in a better position to take countermeasures than it was before," said Shen Dingli in comments to the Post. Shen is director of the Program on Arms Control at Fudan University in Shanghai. Washington, Shen said, "can't expect China to cooperate whenever it makes a demand while it is hurting China's interests."

    Other items included in the US-Taiwan deal include spare parts and replacement parts for the F-16, C-130, F-5 and Taiwanese Indigenous Defense Fighter, according to the State Department.


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    F-16, Lockheed Martin, U.S. Department of State, China, United States, Taiwan
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