Taipei, April 5: To boost current fleet of four ageing foreign-built vessels, Taiwan is planning to build eight submarines stated a senior Taiwanese navy official.
"In our indigenous submarine project, we hope to be able to make eight submarines," told Lee Tsung-hsiao, Navy Chief of staff to Taiwan lawmakers after confirming that this is the first time the number of vessels being planned.“The initial design will be fully completed by early 2018 which has been contracted to build the submarines”, said Cheng Wen-lon Chairman of state-controlled shipbuilder CSBC Corp Taiwan to lawmakers. “The first submarine is expected to go into operation within 10 years”, said Military and Defence industry officials in Taiwan.
Lee's comments come ahead of the first meeting between leaders of the United States and China this week that Taipei has fretted could harm its interest. China never renounced the use of force to take control of what it sees as a wayward province and regarded Taiwan as democratic part of its territory. The United States is obligated by U.S. law to help Taiwan defend itself, but its arms sales to Taiwan angers Beijing and has slowed down the pace of sales, defence.
Taiwan and the United States sole arms supplier are currently engaged in fresh arms sales talks. In the previous month, Tsai Ing-wen a Taiwan's President promised that her administration would see through the indigenous submarine programme as she toured one of the navy's four aging submarines, purchased from the United States and Netherlands at least 30 years ago. As Taiwan has never built a submarine before and will need to rely on foreign technology support to make an advanced vessel. Taiwan's submarine project which began in 2016 is in the middle of a four-year design contract phase budgeted at T$3 billion ($98.69 million).