Taiwan is looking to collaborate with the US government to develop a local maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) hub to support its Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters.
Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) said on 7 October that a local MRO hub is necessary to reduce the costs of supporting the helicopters. Taiwan purchased 30 Apaches from the US government in 2008 for USD1.94 billion. The final batch was delivered in October 2014.
In a statement, the MND said the warranty period for the helicopters had expired and that it must pay the costs for shipping parts requiring service back to the US. It added that the MND would "actively seek technology transfers" to support the establishment of an independent maintenance centre in Taiwan to reduce costs and ensure that the Apaches are maintained to high standards.
The statement was issued in response to news reports in Taiwan that the MND was facing rising costs to support the helicopters as a result of the expired warranty. Citing an unidentified MND source, the reports said that MRO fees in fiscal year 2018 totalled TWD320 million (USD10.3 million) but that these costs were expected to triple.
The MND also indicated that the proposed MRO hub could be positioned to support Apache helicopters across the region. Other regional operators include Japan, South Korea, India, Indonesia, and Singapore.
No further details about the proposed MRO centre were provided by the Taiwan MND but it is thought to be interested in supporting the establishment of an entity similar to Boeing's MRO facility in Saudi Arabia. This was set up in 2017 in collaboration with local industry and supports both commercial and military helicopters including Apaches and CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters.
Want to read more? For analysis on this article and access to all our insight content, please enquire about our subscription options at ihsmarkit.com/janes