The contract is for 50 AGM-154 Joint Standoff Weapons (JSOW), which can be fired by Taiwan’s fleet of F-16s and have a range of up to 68 miles. The 50 bombs are part of an arms deal that was initially approved by the Trump administration in 2017.
The glide bombs are not expected to be delivered until 2028. They will be mainly manufactured in Tucson, Arizona, the home of Raytheon Missile & Defense.
According to The South China Morning Post, the deal for Raytheon is the first weapons supply contract for Taiwan announced by the Pentagon since the island’s presidential elections.
Vice President Lai Ching-te of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party won the election and will be inaugurated in May. He is expected to continue moving closer to the US, following the policies of the current president, Tsai Ing-wen, although the mainland-friendly Kuomintang secured the speakership in Taiwan’s parliament, the Legislative Yuan.
China is strongly opposed to any US military support for Taiwan, including weapons sales. The US has sold weapons to Taiwan since severing diplomatic relations with Taipei in 1979 and began providing unprecedented military aid in 2023. The arming of Taiwan and new US diplomatic support for Taiwan is being done in the name of deterrence, but the policies have significantly increased tensions.