Tue, Oct 03, 2006 - Page 2 News List

CAA defends security of Thales' aviation system

NO WORRIES The Civil Aeronautics Administration denied a local report that Thales Group's involvement in China's aviation industry puts Taiwan's air security at risk

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Civil Aeronautics Administra-tion (CAA) said yesterday that the Communication Navigation Surveil-lance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) system it purchased from the Thales Group was unlikely to become a loophole through which the Chinese government can hack into and access important national security information.

The administration issued a statement yesterday saying that any interface connected to the CNS/ATM system will have to adhere to a strict communication agreement.

The CAA statement was issued in response to a report by the Chinese-language Apple Daily yesterday that Thales' extensive involvement in China's aviation industry in the past two decades could be a problematic issue.

Chinese control?

The report has generated concern among legislators and high-ranking military officials.

An official in the Ministry of National Defense was even quoted in the news report as saying he was worried that by adopting an advanced aviation system made in China, the country's air defense would be under Chinese control.

In reply, the CAA stressed that the system includes three other sub-systems: Air Traffic Management System (ATMS), Aeronautics Information Services System (AISS) and Digital Voice Communication Switch System (DVCSS).

These systems are designed to help the administration manage the nation's aviation information more effectively, the statement said.

According to the administration, the CNS/ATM system has now been adopted by many countries. Information gathered through the system can only be accessed by the nation's Air Force.


Communication between the two systems are also protected by firewalls, the statement said.

The administration also pointed out that all three manufacturers that bid for the project sell their products to China.

Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, two US-based manufacturers, lost at the final round of review to Thales.

Thales was previously known as Thomson-CSF. The company was bought in 2000 by UK-based Racal Electronics Plc, which decided to rename the new company after the Greek mathematician.

Before the acquisition, Thomson was involved in many high-profile deals, such as the sale of Lafayette-class frigates to Taiwan in 1992.

The administration said that construction cost for the system was estimated at NT$2.6 billion, adding that the system will allow it to manage aviation information until 2025.

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