Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ministry in F-16 upgrade wrangle

The Taiwanese Air Force could save a lot of money if it asked suppliers to bid on the jets’ upgrade, but the Ministry of National Defense seems to have only one supplier in mind

The Ministry of National Defense could be contravening a legislative directive if it does not request that the US government perform an open competition bidding process for suppliers involved in upgrading its fleet of 146 F-16A/Bs.

In a meeting on Oct. 12 attended by legislators from the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱) and a representative from the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics, the legislature stipulated that to ensure the proper use of government public resources, the ministry’s Letter of Agreement for the upgrade package for the F-16A/Bs “shall not specify any supplier and shall request the US team to perform open competition.”

Despite this directive, the ministry appears to have only one supplier in mind — Lockheed Martin Corp — and does not seem to have asked the US to facilitate competitive bids for avionics and weapons systems integration.

This comes as Lockheed Martin is locked in competition with BAE Systems over a program for avionics upgrades and weapons systems integration for 135 KF-16C/Ds for the South Korean air force (ROKAF) worth about US$1 billion.

My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

1 comment:

Michael Fagan said...

It does sound suspiciously like someone at procurement is bent (or worse). But then the upgrade program is itself bent; the new radar kit will outlast the airframes for the A/Bs, so it's not exactly value-for-money in any case.

Will an incoming Tsai adminsitration be in a similar position to "clean house" as Chen was in 2000?