Thousands of machine guns, mortars to be bought for reserve force

The proposed budget of Taiwan's military has allocated funds to buy thousands of new machine guns and mortars to be deployed by the nation's reserve force in coming years to boost its defense capabilities.

The Army has allocated NT$428.8 million (US$15.4 million) for fiscal years 2022-2026 to purchase 2,060 light machine guns for infantry squads listed under the military's reserve units, according to the Ministry of National Defense's (MND's) budget proposal sent to lawmakers for review on Tuesday.

The budget also includes funding for maintenance expenses.

The man-portable automatic firearm is meant to boost these units' firepower to fend off invading forces, the budget proposal said.

Another NT$157.3 million was allocated by the Army to buy 87 120mm mortars from 2022 to 2026, also to be deployed by reserve units.

The easy-to-operate, precision weapon system can buy more time for Taiwan's armed forces to defeat invaders, according to the proposal.

The budget proposal is part of an overall defense budget proposal of NT$471.7 billion the military sent to the Legislature for arms purchases and other defense needs.

It must be reviewed and passed by the Legislature in its new session that started Wednesday before taking effect.

The funding is part of an ongoing program to improve the combat readiness of Taiwan's reserve units and make them a more viable backup force for regular forces in protecting Taiwan amid increased Chinese military maneuvers.

Other measures implemented include increasing the frequency and duration of each call-up, providing better equipment, and scaling up reservist training.

At present, reservists are called up every two years for training at a military base near their residence to maintain basic combat skills.

Under the new policy, call-ups would be for two weeks of training rather than the current five to seven days, and could occur every year rather than once every two years, starting in 2023.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel