Taiwanese shipbuilder responsible for its double-hulled fast attack corvette has signed an MOU with Lockheed Martin for Taiwan to build the hulls while Lockheed Martin coordinates and fits their weapons and sensors. These small naval ships will be sold to Southeast Asian nations. The fact that usually hypersensitive to Beijing’s opinion Southeast Asia may be involved is fascinating. If this deal proceeds accordingly, this is good news for Taiwanese and regional security – anything which further integrates democratic and independent Taiwan into the US-Japan-led global democratic supply chain is good. Not clear if this is a part of the purposeful news leak from the latest Taiwan-US military summit where the US plans to collaborate on weapons manufacturing. Also, a very good sign that a civilian, nonstate-owned Taiwanese shipbuilder is involved in this deal. Previous plans to integrate aviation and aircraft maintenance with global arms suppliers faced stiff resistance from Taiwan’s archaic and complicated military-state (and formerly, authoritarian China KMT party) owned enterprises. Israel, South Korea, and Singapore are three good models of small-mid sized nations surrounded by larger hostile powers, and how they have focused their resources and rationalized the collaboration between military-state led R&D, civilian corporations and manufacturing, and links to global military supply chains.
An important part of Taiwan’s democratic consolidation is to push into the last mile – the national security apparatus is the most resistant to democratic change and modern transformation. This is also the sector where modern management techniques and manufacturing would go a long way in aiding Taiwan to modernize its own domestic arms manufacturing. As the Russian invasion of Ukraine has demonstrated, even a global superpower like the United States cannot manage the logistical challenges of a modern medium-intensity war alone – so it serves vital American national security interests to coordinate with global democracies such as Taiwan, Japan, Korea, EU partners by creating a global arms supply chain. We hope for peace of course, but any potential democracies versus authoritarian China conflict in the future will be far more intense than the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The ability of the US, Japan, Taiwan, and democratic allies to restock high-end high technology munitions (THAAD, Patriots, AMRAAM, etc.) in a high-intensity war will play a critical role in any future conflict in the region. 24.11.2022
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