TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As Taiwan’s domestic submarine project moves forward with a completed prototype expected as early as 2024, new reports suggest that northern Taiwan's Heping Island (和平島) is the most likely to be the site of the submarine construction facility.
Up Media reported on Wednesday (Oct. 16) that the chairman of Taiwan’s China Shipbuilding Corporation (CSBC), Cheng Wen-Lon (鄭文隆), has identified Heping Island, which is located at the mouth of Keelung Harbor, as the most suitable choice among several options. CSBC is reportedly preparing to negotiate several deals with component manufacturers later this month.
According to Cheng, the facility in Keelung will be outfitted to construct the exterior shell, hydraulic systems, and batteries and related components, as well as navigational and rudder control apparatus. CSBC expects to sign several MOU’s with foreign partners in the coming weeks.
Once the agreements are signed and details finalized, the company will submit an official report to the Cabinet and Department of Defense officials at the end of this year. Once the central government gives its approval, construction will begin.
Initially, it was rumored that a facility in Kaohsiung would serve as the primary site for the construction of Taiwan's indigenous submarines. However, land acquisition issues led Cheng Wen-Lon and others involved in the project to re-evaluate the choice, reports Up Media.
The facility on Heping Island only has a single route permitting access to the facility. Many involved in the project consider this a more prudent choice given security concerns and the need to transfer technologies from foreign partners to Taiwan.
Assuming the success of the project, it is expected that the facility will produce at least 15 submarines over the next two decades. The large industrial shipbuilding project is also expected to bring at least 10,000 jobs to the region once construction of the new subs is fully underway.