2004 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 17 Feb 2004 16:42:20 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: Navy set to purchase new ASW sonar system: source
Navy set to purchase new ASW sonar system: source
By Brian Hsu
Monday, Feb 16, 2004,Page 2

The navy is to buy two sets of US-made low-frequency active sonar (LFAS)
systems to detect submarines operating in the Taiwan Strait, and plans
to deploy them within two years, defense sources said yesterday.

The LFAS, the most advanced system of its kind, is expected to greatly
enhance the navy's anti-submarine capabilities.

The two LFAS systems are to be land-based, with one to be placed in the
northern part of the country and the other in the south.

The deal will cost a great deal of money, but the exact figure was not
available. The navy has classified the purchase top secret.

LFAS is a new submarine detection system that the US Navy has been
developing since the 1980s. Hundreds of millions of US dollars were said
to have been spent on development of the system, according to
information available from Web sites linked to the LFAS project.

It is quite unusual for the US government to sell Taiwan newly-developed
military hardware. For decades, the military has had to accept
second-hand or outdated weapons systems from the US.

But the navy should not celebrate too soon, since the US government has
yet to resolve complaints from enivronmental groups about the threat
that LFAS may pose to marine mammals, especially whales.

In 2000, 10 American organizations filed suit in a Honolulu federal
court to halt the US Navy's preparations to deploy the LFAS.

The suit alleged that the US Navy violated environmental laws by
spending hundreds of millions of dollars on the sonar system before
completing the analysis of the system's environmental effects.

The groups were concerned that the LFAS could cause severe injuries or
death to whales or other sea creatures because of the high-powered
frequencies it transmits as it penetrates the sea.

A defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the navy
needs to get a powerful anti-submarine warfare (ASW) sensor like the
LFAS to bolster its ability to protect Taiwan, but that it also has the
responsibility of informing the public of its potential harm to the

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