It's been an open secret for a while now that the U.S. military is running low on ammunition. But a new supplier may be emerging, if foreign press reports are accurate. America may start buying some of its bullets from Taiwan.According to Taiwan's United Evening News, the Pentagon is preparing to buy 300 million rounds of 5.56mm caliber bullets, straight from Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense.
According to an unnamed top level military official, this marks the first time America has sought to purchase from the Taiwanese defense establishment. The official said that Taiwan seeks only to recover production costs on the deal, and that should any profit be made it would go towards factory expenses.Production will take place at Plant 205 in Kaoshiung, which is part of the Ministry of National Defenses Bureau of Armaments and Acquisition. The absence of large-scale military conflict in the Taiwan region over the past decades has led to surpluses and storage problems at this facility. The gradual decline in demand has resulted in Plant 205 operating at a fraction of capacity, so the deal with the Americans will be like a deluge after a long drought.The deal could be refreshing to U.S. military planners, as well. The shortage of small-arms ammunition is so severe that, about a year ago,the Pentagon contracted with an Israeli firm to supply the bullets. But Congress wasn't exactly psyched about how Al-Jazeera might portray Jewish State ammo being used on Muslims in Iraq. Taiwanese rounds may be less explosive, politically.(Special thanks to Defense Tech pal Jonathan Schmidt for the translation.)