The US may sell four guided-missile destroyers to Taiwan, with delivery of the first vessel due in 2011. Taiwanese media reported yesterday that Taipei and Washington recently reached consensus on a sale of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, likely to be officially announced next year. The destroyers are fitted with the Aegis combat system. But Taiwan must show concrete actions to prepare the budget and place the order by 2007 if it wanted the deal to go through, the Taipei-based China Times quoted an unnamed military source as saying. The source said that as long as Taipei was able to honour the deal, estimated to cost NT$120 billion (HK$27.4 billion) for four Aegis missile-defence warships, Washington would carry out the sales regardless of who won the American presidential election in November. The Aegis destroyers would give Taiwan a formidable system to defend the island from mainland missile attacks. The ships are armed with super radar, 90 Standard II surface-to-air missiles, eight Boeing Harpoon ship-to-ship missiles, MK32 torpedoes and Raytheon Tomahawk cruise missiles. The 8,000-tonne warship uses the advanced Aegis computerised system to track, intercept and destroy incoming missiles. Taiwan has sought to buy the Aegis warships since 2001, but Washington has declined to sell them, considering furious protests and possible retaliation from the mainland. The paper did not say what had made Washington change its mind. Defence Ministry spokesman Huang Suey-sheng, however, said the military had not received word from Washington about the warships. 'We have heard nothing from the US about such a sale, though it has long been the navy's desire to buy the warships,' said the spokesman. The reported sales plan is not part of an ongoing NT$610 billion arms deal between Washington and Taipei. The deal, for which Taiwan's legislature has yet to approve the budget, includes Patriot anti-missile systems, conventional submarines and anti-submarine aircraft. US President George W. Bush announced the deal in 2001.