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US defense industry delegation arrives in Taiwan

Group will visit NCSIST, explore cooperation with Taiwanese companies

U.S. F-16 fighter jet.

U.S. F-16 fighter jet. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A delegation of 25 American defense industry representatives, including members from the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council, has arrived in Taiwan ahead of the Taiwan-U.S. Defense Industry Cooperation Forum on Wednesday (May 3).

The delegation, led by retired U.S. Marine Corps Commander Steven Rudder, is the first of its kind to visit Taiwan since 2019. The president of the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council, Rupert Hammond-Chambers, and several drone experts will also accompany the delegation, Liberty Times reported.

The group includes representatives from AeroVironment, AEVEX Aerospace, the American Institute in Taiwan, BAE Systems, Cubic Corporation, Elbit Systems of America, General Atomics, General Electric, LKD Aerospace, Maritime Tactical Systems, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Pacific Rim Defense, Persistent Systems, Planate Management Group, Project 2049, Raytheon Technologies, Tactical Air Support, Teledyne FLIR LLC, The Rehfeldt Group, U.S.-Taiwan Business Council, Lockheed Martin Corporation, L3Harris, Sierra Nevada Corporation, Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, and SNC Corporation.

Taiwan military officials said the delegation's trip is primarily centered on visiting the National Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology, exchanging ideas with Taiwanese civilian industries, and exploring opportunities to jointly develop unmanned aerial vehicles with Taiwanese industry players.

The group will not visit the Ministry of National Defense.

On Monday (May 1), the delegation members visited Taiwan's domestic rocket manufacturer, TiSPACE, and expressed interest in continuing to cooperate with the company.

Chairman of TiSPACE, Chen Yan-Sheng (陳彥升), pointed out that some of the visiting defense suppliers have supplied Taiwan with certain weapons, such as Patriot III and other missiles as well as ship technology. Chen said this visit could lead to more technological exchanges with American vendors, and even become part of the supply chain for certain systems and parts.

Institute for National Defense and Security Research Director Su Tzu-yun (蘇紫雲) said that NCSIST can use the delegation’s visit to demonstrate its technological progress and allow the U.S. to assess what kind of products can be developed or produced by the institute. Su added that there are two types of Taiwan-U.S. cooperation in production: original equipment manufacturing (OEM) or original design manufacturing (ODM).