Taiwan is capable of building its own Aegis-equipped destroyers, and would actually prefer to do so, but would only build them if the United States agreed to transfer the military technology at the heart of the system. According to the Taipei Times, Taiwanese Vice Adm. Hung Cheng-lo, deputy chief of the general staff for defense planning, said Taiwan has the shipbuilding experience but lacks only the software technology to build ships equivalent in performance capability to U.S. warships.
"Our state-run China Shipbuilding Corporation [CSC] has experience and competence in building warships," he told the paper. "It built the Chengkung-class frigates" for Taiwan's navy. The ships, which are based on U.S. Perry-class frigates, are still under construction under a program to build eight of them. The program, which began in 1989, is slated to end soon, with the construction and delivery of the eighth warship. The last ship should be delivered to Taiwan's navy in 2004; each vessel costs around $212 million.
In addition to the seven Chengkung-class frigates, six Lafayette-class frigates have been purchased from France and six Knot-class frigates have been leased from the United States to form the backbone of Taiwan's fleet.
Other naval officials told the newspaper that while Taiwan was eager to get advanced U.S.-built warships like Aegis-equipped destroyers, officials were less interested in buying them without technology transfers than they are about building them in Taiwan with U.S. technology.