Without a breakdown of which missiles are produced in what quantity annually, it is difficult to assess the significance of “1,000” – though it is a good sign that Taiwan Republic, Japan, and US are all addressing the logistics of a war against China. Taiwanese “indigenous” missiles are a product of the peculiar stage in Taiwan-US-China relations – a product of compromise and the fictional One China status quo. I wonder if policymakers in DC have seriously studied and throught through the implications of having the Taiwanese continue this dual track – purchasing/importing US-made missiles while investing in domestically manufactured missiles. Perhaps the blurb from the recent US-Taiwan military talks about “enhancing munitions coproduction” is a way to discuss this issue – from economies of scale, to whether NCIST missiles are more vulnerable to Chinese communist infiltration and sabotage, to obstacles to interoperability with Japanese and American units. An example: during the war can the US-made Patriots efficiently coordinate with the Taiwanese TK2 and TK3 surface-to-air missiles? How about Taiwanese naval units using American Harpoons and Taiwanese HF series? Or Taiwanese artillery units using Taiwanese MLRS and soon-to-be imported American HIMARS?
A final observation: while it is good that Taiwan’s CSIST is moving away from the “handcrafted” model of manufacturing missiles into the modern mass assembly, one of the many chasms between the Taiwan military and Taiwanese democracy is in this island nation’s economic dynamism and know-how, and how isolated the military remains. Simple question: should a quasi-state military research entity like CSIST even manufacture missiles? Or would it be best to adopt the model from Israel, or Singapore, or South Korea, or Japan, have CSIST coordinate strategic level priority weapon systems research, and subcontract manufacturing to private or public-private corporations? 10.2.2023
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