PAC-3 batteries could help protect 70pc of island's population from attack by the mainland, defence official tells legislators Taiwan's military has urged the legislature to approve the purchase of six Patriot PAC-3 anti-missile batteries from the US, saying they could help protect 70 per cent of the island's population. But it failed to convince opposition legislators, who questioned the accuracy of the system. The legislators said they were worried that the PAC-3 purchase might encourage an unnecessary arms race across the Taiwan Strait. Citing a recent study outlining the possibility of a mainland missile attack on Taiwan, a senior military official told legislators that the purchase was urgently needed. 'Along with the PAC-2 batteries we have deployed to protect northern Taiwan, the additional PAC-3 batteries will be able to help protect 70 per cent of the population and strategic locations in northern, central and southern Taiwan,' said Lin Chin-ching, director of the Defence Ministry's Overall Evaluation Office. He said the Patriot systems could help protect 60 per cent of the industrial facilities in Taiwan. Taiwan would have 580 anti-missile missiles after the purchase - 200 from PAC-2 batteries and 380 from PAC-3 systems. Mr Lin said the study presumed that by 2014, the mainland would have 1,200 technical guided missiles and cruise missiles. In a computer simulation of one war scenario, the PLA was likely to hit Taiwan with missiles in four ways: striking at the radar system in northern Taiwan; attacking central Taiwan's air base; destroying various airports on the island; and hitting a 'certain political and economic centre' or the Presidential Office. He said that, on average, it would take 20.8 Patriot anti-missile missiles to intercept 8.1 missiles from the mainland. Vice-Defence Minister Huo Shou-yeh admitted that in the event of a surprise attack, it would be almost impossible for the military to react. 'Only the troops in combat readiness are able to tackle the situation. If they are not combat-ready, naturally they would not be able to prepare for the [incoming] missiles,' he told legislators. Mr Huo said it would take a mainland missile seven minutes to reach Taiwan and five minutes for the Patriot's radar unit to lock on the target. Defence officials said once a mainland missile passed the Tamsui river, it would take just 90 seconds to reach the Presidential Office, but they said the military had a contingency plan to evacuate the president. The island's leader would be escorted through an underpass from his office to a nearby building, before being evacuated by helicopter. Meanwhile, the Defence Ministry denied media reports that Singaporean troops who receive training in Taiwan would join the military in taking part in the Hankuang exercise, the main annual war games that start next month.