Navy questions CSBC's capability to build submarines
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, March 14 (CNA) A senior Navy officer on Wednesday questioned a local ship builder's capability to build submarines for the Armed Forces, saying the company's briefing material shows it is not ready to take on such a project.
Vice Admiral Huang Shu-kuang, chief of staff of the Navy Command Headquarters, was echoing Defense Minister's Kao Hua-chu's comment that he was not sure if local shipbuilders have the technology to build submarines for the Navy.
The idea was put forth as early as 2002, but more assessments will be required because the building of submarines involves many technologies, Kao said.
In reply to lawmakers' questions, Kao said the most basic requirement for locally built submarines is that they be able to dive and surface and the most important thing is to ensure the safety of the people onboard the vessels.
According to a report in the United Evening News, Kao described a proposal by the state-run CSBC Corp., Taiwan to build military submarines as "bold and muddleheaded."
But Kuomintang Legislator Lin Yu-fang, an expert on defense affairs, said being bold is better than being timid.
CSBC should be given a chance to "start by building small submarines," from which it will acquire experience to produce bigger ones, Lin said.
But Huang said that after reviewing the data supplied by CSBC, he felt "the company's capabilities were still insufficient."
Kao said the Ministry of National Defense (MND) was "carefully reviewing" the CSBC proposal, which he said was "just an idea."
The MND has not begun to evaluate its feasibility, he said.
CSBC deputy CEO, Chen Feng-lin, was angered by Kao's description of his company's proposal as "bold and muddleheaded," according to the United Evening News.
"Is Kao a Navy man? I don't think so," Chen was quoted as saying, referring to Kao's previous service in the Infantry.
While he respects the defense minister's position, Chen said, it must be pointed out that a group of German submarine experts expressed optimism eight years ago that CSBC would be able to build a complete submarine, including its weapons system, if the company could acquire some advanced technology in collaboration with foreign companies.
"All we need is a little support and a small investment (from the government)," Chen was quoted as saying.
(By Justin Su and S.C. Chang)
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