TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The launch of Taiwan’s first indigenous submarine and the delivery of heavyweight torpedoes by the United States are expected to take place earlier than first scheduled, reports said Wednesday (July 21).
While the submarine would have made its maiden voyage during the first half of 2024 and fully entered service in 2025, military officials now say its first trip should take place in September 2023, the Liberty Times reported.
The government has drawn up a budget of NT$49.3 billion (US$1.75 billion) for the first vessel, with work beginning last year. The assembly should be completed by the end of next year, while electronics systems will be fitted in early 2023, according to the report.
The submarine’s maiden journey will be followed by months of testing before the Navy can officially take delivery in 2024. If everything develops according to plan, the military would like to procure between eight and 12 more submarines, with each batch of two or three vessels more advanced than the previous one.
By the end of the delivery period, the first submarine would be upgraded to match the sophistication of the later vessels, the report said.
In addition, the military will try to bring forward the delivery of 46 torpedoes from the U.S. to 2026 from 2028 in light of the rising threat from China, the Liberty Times reported. The torpedoes are MK 48 Mod 6 Advanced Technology (AT) heavyweight models manufactured by Raytheon.