After more than a decade of delays and reversals, the navy has confirmed that it will embark on a domestic submarine program next year, with a prototype to be delivered within three to four years.
Taiwanese and US sources told the Taipei Times earlier this month that officials from the Republic of China Navy had briefed a small group of legislators from the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee during a classified meeting late last month. Legislators from the Democratic Progressive Party are also said to have attended the meeting.
While not mentioning the initial meeting with legislators, the Chinese-language United Daily News reported yesterday that the navy would brief senior government officials and legislators on the issue and seek budgets for the program within two months.
One US source, who has been actively involved in efforts to procure submarines for Taiwan over the years, told the Taipei Times in a meeting on Feb. 11 that an unspecified budget for the 2013 financial year has been set aside for a domestic diesel-electric submarine program, which would involve a unique design and assistance from one or a number of foreign countries.
The navy is reportedly aiming for a design with a relatively light displacement of between 1,000 tonnes and 1,500 tonnes.
My article, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.