Tue, Feb 26, 2019 - Page 12 News List

CSBC pledges to spur indigenous defense industry

By Ted Chen  /  Staff reporter

CSBC Corp, Taiwan (台灣國際造船) yesterday affirmed its commitment to lead other Taiwanese suppliers in building up the nation’s defense industry to help the government bolster indigenously developed defense capabilities.

CSBC, Taiwan’s only listed shipbuilder, yesterday gathered representatives from the nation’s research institutes, regulators and government agencies, as well as more than 70 peers, to help the government cut reliance on naval defense imports.

President Tsai-Ing-wen (蔡英文) also attended the event, where she delivered a speech.

“With orders from the Republic of China Navy and coast guard for indigenously developed vessels, this year marks the beginning of an accelerated period of development in Taiwan’s indigenous defense industry,” CSBC chairman Cheng Wen-lon (鄭文隆) told a news conference.

The push for homegrown warships is expected to continue until 2025 and create more than NT$500 billion (US$16.24 billion) in revenue for local suppliers, Cheng said, adding that over the next two decades, about 5,100 to 9,400 high-quality jobs would be created.

Cheng said he also expects the vessels to generate NT$4.5 billion to NT$7.1 billion in annual maintenance revenue over their service lives and add 1,253 to 1,959 jobs.

In particular, the indigenous submarine program is advancing, he said, adding that by the end of next month, the program would enter the final design stage and be assessed by the Legislative Yuan.

“The first of Taiwan’s indigenous submarines is slated to be launched in January 2024,” Cheng added.

Ching Fu Shipbuilding Co’s (慶富造船) failed attempt to build six minesweepers for the navy in no way reflects the true capabilities of the domestic defense industry, he said.

“What happened there was a misstep in Ching Fu’s procurement schedule and other financial shortcomings,” Cheng said, adding that he has confidence in the capabilities of CSBC’s supply chain partners.

With the government, CSBC is drafting quality standards and military certifications for every aspect of military vessels, including hull materials and electronic systems, so that viable partners can be identified.

Still, while local suppliers catch up, CSBC and the government would work on technology transfers with global suppliers to make up the shortfall, Tsai said.

National research institutions would also explore licensing military-use technologies to the private sector to foster the development of military-grade capabilities, she said.

By filling military-grade orders, the nation’s defense industry could someday compete in the global market, Tsai added.

With the global cargo shipping industry weakened from a lingering freight capacity glut, CSBC is looking to military contracts and offshore wind projects to diversify its commercial shipbuilding business, the company said.

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