On December 28, 2022, the United States Department of Defense announced that the U.S. State Department has made a determination to approve a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States of Volcano (vehicle-launched) anti-tank munitions-laying systems and related equipment for an estimated cost of $180 million.
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U.S. Army engineers from Bravo company, 1st Engineer Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division demonstrate American mine dispensing capabilities for the Polish army using the M139 Volcano mine dispensing system at camp Karliki, Poland June 27, 2019. (Picture source U.S. DoD)
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO)is an alternative diplomatic institution serving as a de facto embassy or a consulate of Taiwan (Republic of China) to exercise foreign affairs and consular services in specific countries which have established formal diplomatic relations with China.
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO) has requested to buy Volcano (vehicle-launched) anti-tank munitions-laying systems, M977A4 HEMTT 10-Ton cargo trucks, M87A1 Anti-Tank (AT) munitions, M88 canister training munitions (practice dummy ammunition rounds) and M89 training munitions (test ammunition rounds).
For the Defense Budget 2023, the United States approved $2 billion in Foreign Military Financing per year for Taiwan over five years and another $1 billion annually in equipment from U.S. military stockpiles.
The principal contractor(s) will be Northrop Grumman, West Falls Church, VA for the production of munitions canister mines; and Oshkosh Corporation, Oshkosh, WI for the production of the M977A4 HEMTT vehicles. Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of one (1) technical representative in the country for an estimated two (2) years of support; and U.S. Government representatives and contractor personnel to travel OCONUS for a duration of up to five years to support equipment fielding/training and program management.
The Volcano is a mass scatterable mine delivery system that delivers mines by helicopter or ground vehicle. It enables tactical commanders to emplace antitank/antipersonnel (AT/AP) or pure AT minefields with a minimum of personnel. A Soldier-selectable, self-destruct mechanism destroys the mine at the end of its active lifecycle – 4 hours to 15 days – depending on the time selected.
Using a ground vehicle, a 1,000-meter minefield can be laid in 4 to 12 minutes based on terrain and vehicle speed. A helicopter can complete the mission in 20 seconds. Advantages of this system include faster response, increased lethality, greater efficiency, and enhanced safety.