Taiwan has officially started its indigenous submarine construction program with the opening of a submarine construction facility in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan.
The new plant, in which Taiwanese shipbuilder China Shipbuilding Corporation (CSBC) will build up to eight diesel-electric submarines, was officially opened in a ceremony on November 24.
“Thanks to everyone who helped us overcome all obstacles, erase all doubts, & begin domestic production. We’re more determined than ever to continue developing our self-defense industries & safeguard our sovereignty & democracy,” president of the Republic of China (Taiwan), Tsai Ing-wen said.
Taiwan is building the new boats to replace the World War II era Hai Shih-class submarines used for training purposes and two operational former Dutch submarines that are referred to as the Hai Lung-class.
According to details previously released by Taiwan, the new submarines will feature an X-bow rudder, similar to Japan’s Soryu submarines, while Japanese engineers will reportedly be involved in the program. The country has also contracted a European firm to oversee design work. Reports also say that several US defense contractors were involved in the project after they received green light from the US government to negotiate contracts.
CSBC is expected to hand over the first boat in the class to the navy in 2025, with a first patrol tentatively set for 2026.