Taiwan embarks on spending spree on homemade subs


Two Dutch-made submarines surface near southern Taiwan during an exercise in July 29, 2004. Taiwan has been having trouble updating its submarine fleet. Photo: AFP/Sam Yeh


International technical support secured as Taiwan presses ahead with replacing aging boats with indigenous ones

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has vowed to spend a lot more – NT$73.6 billion (US$2.4 billion), or more than one-fifth of the island’s defense budget next year – on the development of indigenous weapons.

The president made the announcement at a ceremony at the Navy Command Headquarters to kickstart a new homemade assault submarine program.

Next year’s defense budget will get a boost of NT$18.3 billion (US$597.5 million) and its share of the island’s GDP is set to break the 2% mark.

Taiwan now maintains a fleet of antiquated submarines made up of two Dutch-built Zwaardvisclass diesel models that have been in service since the 1980s. Difficulty in procuring more advanced models from abroad has forced the island to make its own.

Still, Washington has thrown a lifeline to the island’s ill-fated submarine program after the US Department of State in April started to authorize US firms to export core technologies to Taiwan, despite Beijing’s protests.

The granting of licenses will enable US contractors to cut out intermediaries and deal with the Taiwanese government directly for the transfer of submarine technology, in particular propulsion, noise-cancellation, stealth design and weapons bays, the official said.

Full article: Taiwan embarks on spending spree on homemade subs (Asia Times)

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