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WASHINGTON – Taiwan finally has reached an internal political consensus to develop its own indigenous submarine production, following years of fruitless efforts to acquire them from other countries, including the United States and Germany, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
The pursuit of an indigenous submarine manufacturing capability is indicative of growing concerns in Taiwan of mainland China’s military buildup opposite the island nation.
China has announced a major naval buildup of surface ships and nuclear submarines as part of its role of expanded presence in the South China Sea. But that also allows it a capability for force projection, especially against Taiwan.
The first diesel submarine, said to be in the 1,500-ton class, is expected to be built over the next five years. Taiwan, which wants eight submarines built, for many years has sought submarines from other countries.
However, the decision for Taiwan to proceed with building its own submarines stems from a feasibility study initiated in 2009 by Taiwan’s National Security Council.
Regional sources say the design will be based on Russian Kilo-class technology. In October 2010, the Russians agreed to provide Taiwan technical cooperation to construct the submarines’ pressure hulls.
In addition, information collected on submarine construction also came from the German 209 model submarine ship structure, including conceptual designs and experimental computer modeling.
Taiwan has had to resort to its own indigenous submarine construction since it is finding it increasingly difficult to obtain new weapons systems from the United States and other countries which have major trade relations with China. Taiwan still will need special combat and communications systems from other countries.
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