Taiwan will no longer tolerate continuing price increases for two advanced long-range early warning radar systems being purchased from the United States, a Ministry of National Defense spokesman said Tuesday.
"The Air Force has protested the price increases many times, and the Defense Ministry has chosen not to be taken for a ride," said MND spokesman Lo Shao-ho.
Lo said the defense ministry has repeatedly protested to Raytheon, the systems' supplier, over the price increases.
It has also asked the Pentagon to tell the company to exercise restraint after the Air Force was notified earlier this year of a third price increase since the project was approved in 2003, this time for an additional US$200 million, he added.
The two long-range early warning radar systems -- approved by the Legislative Yuan in 2003 at a cost of NT$30.4 billion (US$1.05 billion) -- were originally scheduled to be built and become operational at the end of 2011.
According to a United Daily News report Tuesday, the price of the radar systems had previously been increased by a total of NT$6.2 billion in 2008 and 2010.
The radar systems are designed to monitor ballistic missiles and cruise missiles and to act as a forward position for the U.S. ballistic missile defense system, according to the report.
The paper said Taiwan does not actually need the advanced radar systems, which have a detection range exceeding 3,000 kilometers, because Taiwan's main military threat comes from only about 1,000 kilometers away across the Taiwan Strait, the report said.
"To put it in a nutshell, under the radar procurement program, Taiwan serves as a sentry for the United States, but the sentry has to pay for its own costs and pay the boss' bills too," the daily said.