Taiwan is going to invest close to US$15 billion into indigenous shipbuilding projects in an effort to become more independent from changing US policies on defense, writes defense analyst Wendell Minnick in Defense News.
The Taiwanese Navy announced 12 new shipbuilding and force modernization programs covering a 23-year period at roughly $14.7 billion on Monday. This indigenous build effort is part of an overall plan to wean Taiwan off expensive and politically troublesome US defense acquisitions — which often consist of refurbished older platforms — and develop a robust defense industry on the island.
The projected timeline runs from 2017 to 2040, and programs include a Taiwan Aegis destroyer and frigate, submarine, high-speed minelayer, landing platform dock (LPD), 11 additional stealthy Tuo Jiang-class missile corvette catamarans, and multi-purpose transport. Other programs include more AAV7s, a type of assault amphibious vehicle, for the Taiwanese Marine Corps, underwater swimmer delivery vehicles for special forces, and assorted weapons for special forces.
Despite the impressive list that includes a wide variety of vessels and systems, orchestrated by the Navy’s Naval Shipbuilding Development Center, the list is considered by some Taiwan defense analysts to be a “Christmas wish list.” As of now, only three of the programs have been officially authorized and funded for construction.
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