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Thu, Mar 28, 2002 - Page 18 News List

Arms deals to include tech transfers

STAFF WRITER

Taiwan is looking to bolster its defense industry by seeking military purchases from the US that incorporate greater technology transfers, or training packages, according to a report.

In a recent issue of the Virginia-based Defense News, Willy Peng, vice chairman of the Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (漢翔航空) was quoted as saying the technology transfers would be key to supporting local industry.

"In the long term, together we can help support the product from a logistic point if they help the local defense industry," Peng was quoted as saying.

According to attendees at a defense summit in Florida, hosted earlier this month by the US-Taiwan Business Council, Taiwan Defense Minister Tang Yao-ming (湯曜明) said all future purchases should include so-called "offsets" -- which are literally industrial technology compensations in exchange for purchasing military hardware.

The overall goal of boosting Taiwan's defense industry is to cut the overhead costs involved in sending weapons systems back to the US for costly repairs and maintenance, according to an official who was presence at the Florida summit.

The US, which is Taiwan's leading supplier of arms, appeared to agree with the argument of Frank Carlucci, a former US defense secretary and council chairman. Carlucci said it is only natural that Taiwan should be interested in offsets.

"It's not just a question of selling military material. It's a question in many cases of co-production, joint R&D -- that's happening increasingly across the world and I see no reason why Taiwan should be left out of that equation," Carlucci said.

Taiwanese firms have already been linking up with US firms to gain vital knowledge in developing military and aerospace systems -- as well as to create additional revenue.

In February, a number of domestic aerospace firms announced partnerships with major airline-part makers Snecma and Ryder, for the joint-development of plane components.

Last year it was revealed that Aerospace Industrial had signed a deal to jointly develop 50 Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS) terminals with Iowa-based Rockwell Collins.

The data-link system would significantly upgrade and integrate the communications and flow of information between Taiwan's air, sea and land forces.

China Shipbuilding Corp (中船) has also lobbied for the right to build the eight diesel-powered submarines that the US promised to sell Taiwan.

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