Date: December 5, 2015
By: Wendell Minnick
WASHINGTON — In 2001, President George W. Bush’s administration released the largest
arms package to Taiwan since the closing of US military bases on the island in 1979. The deal included four Kidd-class destroyers, 12 P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft and eight diesel-electric submarines.
Since then, the package has been completed except for the submarine offer. The many sticking points include the fact the US has not built diesel-electric attack submarines since the last Barbel-class was finished in 1959. But that has not stopped Taiwan’s Navy from pushing forward on an official release via the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) office before beginning an indigenous build program.
Taiwan’s frustrations with the US FMS process it began 14 years ago are growing, leading it to pursue an indigenous construction effort that it hopes will provide some tactical and strategic leverage against China’s rapidly growing naval modernization efforts.
On Dec. 1, the Washington-based Project 2049 Institute sponsored a conference on the topic with Taiwan’s Rear Adm. David T.W. Yang presenting the keynote speech. The conference, “A Deep Dive: Taiwan’s Future Submarine Program,” included commentary by Mark Stokes, executive director of the Project 2049 Institute. [FULL STORY]