TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of National Defense (MND) said Wednesday (Sept. 30) that the program to upgrade the Taiwanese Navy Chien Lung-class submarines will be launched next year and completed by 2024.
The MND said that the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science & Technology (NCSIST) and the Dutch firm RH Marine will be in charge of the system integration of the two aging Chien Lung-class submarines, SS-793 Hai Lung (Sea Dragon) and SS-794 Hai Hu (Sea Tiger). It said both vessels were bought from the Netherlands in the 1980s and are badly in need of modernization.
The ministry explained that the long-planned upgrade will extend the service life of the submarine fleet and keep it operational. It estimated that the project will be completed by 2024 and strengthen Taiwan's undersea capabilities, reported CNA.
Meanwhile, the US$180 million worth of advanced torpedoes purchased from the U.S. are expected to arrive in Taiwan by the end of the year and will give the country's submarine force a heavy boost. The MND said the MK-48 Mod 6AT heavyweight torpedoes, which are designed to destroy high-speed nuclear-powered submarines and high-performance surface ships, can be activated as soon as 2028, reported Liberty Times.
Besides the two Chien Lung-class submarines, the Taiwanese Navy also operates two vintage Hai Shih-class in its inventory, which were transferred from the U.S. in 1973. A project to build Taiwan's first indigenous diesel-electric attack submarine will also begin on Nov. 3 and be completed in 2024 at the earliest.