Bidding to supply the frame of the navy’s new amphibious assault ship, priced at NT$3.6 billion (US$117.6 million), is to take place tomorrow, military sources said.
The first bidding in April failed to attract offers due to the low overall budget, sources said.
Despite minor revisions, the amount of allotted funding has not changed, the Ministry of National Defense said.
The project, codenamed Hong Yun, is to receive NT$6.2 billion in funding starting in 2021, of which NT$3.6 billion is allotted for the frame while the remaining funds are to be used for weapon and technical support systems, sources said.
The main difficulty would be whether shipbuilders are able to manufacture a frame for a combat-capable vessel at that price, the sources said.
All eligible bidders must show documented proof of past contracts for building sections of a ship weighing more than 1,000 tonnes, the ministry said, adding that at least three eligible bidders must be present for the bidding to start.
Whether the President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) administration’s indigenous shipbuilding project would be on schedule depends on the outcome of the bidding, the sources said.
However, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tsai Shih-ying (蔡適應) cautioned the ministry against setting the bar too low.
The project must have balanced funding, and an insufficient allocation — which would cause contractors to give bids that are too low — should be avoided, Tsai Shih-ying said.
Allowing shipbuilders to have reasonable profit margins would help the nation maintain a healthy defense industry, he said.
The project seeks to update the navy’s amphibious landing vessels, which have all been in service for more than four decades and require increasing maintenance costs, the ministry said.
The vessel would ideally displace about 10,000 tonnes and would be armed with ship-borne surface-to-air missiles, 76mm auto cannon turrets and the Phalanx close-in weapons system. Its primary duty would be to ferry amphibious craft for landing, such as the AAV-7.
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