Taiwan Chooses Boeing Over Bell In US$1.5 Billion Helicopter Deal
July 10, 2007: 06:47 AM EST
TAIPEI (AP)--Taiwan's army wants to buy 30 Boeing Co. (BA) Apache attack helicopters from the United States , an official said Tuesday, in a deal that will almost certainly roil rival China .
Col. Dai Kuang-chao said the military opted for the Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow over Bell's AH-1Z Cobra because it better suited the army's needs.
"This fits our military requirements," Dai said. "The Cobra may be a bit newer but it is still not battle proven."
The deal, worth US$1.5 billion , still needs the approval of the U.S. government and Taiwan's Legislature.
China can be expected to pressure Washington not to approve the sale, in line with its efforts to prevent Taiwan from procuring sophisticated military equipment from abroad.
The two sides split amid civil war in 1949, and China continues to view Taiwan as part of its territory.
It has threatened to attack if the democratic island makes its de facto independence permanent.
Last month Taiwan's Legislature approved the purchase of American submarine hunting aircraft, a small part of a US$15 billion package that also includes American diesel submarines and the third generation of the Patriot anti-missile system.
President Chen Shui-bian's Democratic Progressive Party has been pushing for acquisition of the submarines and the Patriots too, but the opposition has used its narrow legislative majority to block the purchases on the grounds they would propel Taiwan into a no-win arms race with the mainland.
Chen and the DPP counter that Taiwan must rapidly strengthen its military to combat a decade-long Chinese arms buildup, and so safeguard the island from possible attack.
Bell Helicopter is a unit of Textron Inc. (TXT).
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
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