TAIPEI — The inaugural Kaohsiung International Maritime and Defence Expo will be Aug. 25-28 in the southern port city of Kaohsiung.

The southern port city of Kaohsiung is also home to Taiwan's biggest naval base, Tsoying Naval Base, and the Taiwan Navy has been pushing hard for a domestic ship build program that will include up to eight conventional attack submarines.

US defense contractors, such as BAE, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, and Rolls-Royce have been invited, and show organizers are awaiting a response, said Tiffany Chou, the exhibition's public relations organizer.

The navy is going forward on the Indigenous Defense Submarine (IDS) program and all US defense contractors have a potential market share of the program, said a senior Taiwan Navy officer. Taiwan's only two combat-operational submarines are Dutch-built Zwaardvis-class subs acquired in the late 1980s. It also has two of the oldest submarines in operation — two Guppy-class submarines acquired in the early 1970s that served at the end of World War II. These submarines are described as training platforms, not operational ones. The Guppys will be retired soon and the Zwaardvis "urgently" need refurbishing, said the navy officer, and US defense contractors will be bidding on that contract, as well, he said.

KH-6 missile patrol boat

Photo Credit: Wendell Minnick

The exhibition will feature a variety of commercial and military wares: amphibious task force equipment, combat systems, communications, construction, engineering, green port technology, machinery, platform equipment, propellers, radar, shafting, ship design, telemetry and underwater operations.

The show is being organized by the Taiwan Shipbuilding Industry Association, with local shipbuilders and suppliers participating, including China Shipbuilding Corporation (CSBC-Taiwan)Ching Fu ShipbuildingJong Shyn ShipbuildingLung-Teh Shipbuilding and San Yang Shipbuilding.

Taiwan's naval building program has included a variety of new platforms built by local companies. CSBC-Taiwan builds the stealthy 170-ton Kuang Hua-6 guided-missile patrol boat and the 10,000-ton AOE-532 Pan-shi fast combat support ship. Lung Teh builds the stealthy Tuo Jiang-class catamaran corvettes.

The show will be at the Kaohsiung Exhibition Center and there will be tours of Taiwan naval vessels at the nearby port facilities. The exhibition will be accepting applications for exhibitor space until May 20.

Tuo Jiang-class catamaran corvette

Photo Credit: Wendell Minnick