Taiwan flags risk of Stinger missile delays, says pressing US

The missiles are in hot demand in Ukraine, where they have successfully kept Russian aircraft at bay, but US supplies have shrunk and production of the anti-aircraft weapons faced significant hurdles

 Soldiers from Taiwan demonstrate a US-made dual mount Stinger missile system during the opening day of the "Taipei Aerospace and Defense Technology Exhibition" August 11, 2005. (photo credit: REUTERS/RICHARD CHUNG RC/DY)
Soldiers from Taiwan demonstrate a US-made dual mount Stinger missile system during the opening day of the "Taipei Aerospace and Defense Technology Exhibition" August 11, 2005.
(photo credit: REUTERS/RICHARD CHUNG RC/DY)

Taiwan's Defense Ministry on Tuesday said deliveries of shoulder-fired Stinger anti-aircraft missiles could be delayed, saying they were pressing the United States to deliver on schedule as the war in Ukraine pressures supplies.

The missiles are in hot demand in Ukraine, where they have successfully kept Russian aircraft at bay, but US supplies have shrunk and production of the anti-aircraft weapons faced significant hurdles.

The United States approved the sale of 250 of Raytheon Technologies' RTX.N Stinger missiles to Taiwan in 2019. Taiwanese media has reported Taiwan is expected to complete the delivery by 2026.

Chu Wen-wu, deputy head of Taiwan's army planning department, said those deliveries may get held up.

"It is true that due to changes in the international situation, there may be a risk of delayed delivery this year of the portable Stinger missiles," he told a news conference. "The Army will coordinate with the full procurement plan and continue to require the US military to implement is normally in accordance with the contract."

 Lithuania's military aid including Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, delivered as part of the security support package for Ukraine, is unloaded from a ?17 Globemaster III plane at the Boryspil International Airport outside Kyiv, Ukraine, February 13, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/VALENTYN OGIRENKO) Lithuania's military aid including Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, delivered as part of the security support package for Ukraine, is unloaded from a ?17 Globemaster III plane at the Boryspil International Airport outside Kyiv, Ukraine, February 13, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/VALENTYN OGIRENKO)

Ministry spokesman Sun Li-fang added that procurement of General Dynamics Corp GD.N M1A2 Abrams tanks was "normal" - Taiwan plans to buy 108 of them with delivery by 2027.

Taiwan's air force is also in touch with the United States to ensure that deliveries of new F-16 fighter jets take place on schedule before 2026, he said.

This is the second time this week that the ministry has warned of delayed deliveries of US weapons.

It said on Monday it was considering alternative weapons options after the United States informed it that the delivery of an artillery system would be delayed due to a "crowded" production line.

Taiwan, claimed by China as its own territory, is undertaking a military modernization program to improve its capabilities to fend off a Chinese attack, including with precision weapons like missiles.

US officials have been pushing Taiwan to modernize its military so it can become a "porcupine," hard for China to attack.