Taiwan to Accelerate Construction of Home Grown Submarine Prototype, Reports Say
08:50 GMT 06.12.2021 (Updated: 09:10 GMT 06.12.2021)
BEIJING (Sputnik) - The Taiwanese authorities have ordered accelerated action on the construction of a domestically built submarine prototype in the wake of growing tensions with mainland China, the South China Morning Post reported on Sunday, citing a military source.
"We expect to speed up the construction of the ship", the source told the media.
The island's naval forces are likely to receive the first submarine in 2024, a year ahead of schedule. The first and the most important phase of its construction was completed in November.
In 2016, Taiwan initiated its domestic submarine project to replenish its ageing fleet, consisting of four submarines, with eight new ones. Two of Taiwan's four submarines that date back to World War II are used primarily for training purposes. Two more submarines, manufactured by the Netherlands in the late 1980s, are in service. Since then, however, Taiwan has been unable to find a country willing to sell it new submarines due to pressure from Beijing.
© REUTERS / Tyrone Siuhe Hai Lung SS-793 diesel-electric submarine emerges from underwater during a drill near Yilan naval base, Taiwan April 13, 2018
he Hai Lung SS-793 diesel-electric submarine emerges from underwater during a drill near Yilan naval base, Taiwan April 13, 2018
The first new submarine prototype, estimated to cost Taipei $1.7 billion, was initially expected to be ready by 2024 and be put into operation in 2025. The construction began at a CSBC Corporation shipyard in November 2020. The Taiwanese Navy held a keel-laying ceremony for the submarine prototype on 16 November 2021.
In early October, the People's Liberation Army of China sent nearly 150 military aircraft to Taiwan's shores. Taiwan's Defence Minister Qiu Guozheng said that mainland China would probably have all the possibilities for a full-scale invasion of the island by 2025. He added that the current situation in the Taiwan Strait is the most strained in the past 40 years.
Taiwan has been governed independently from mainland China since 1949. Beijing views the island as its province, while Taiwan — a territory with its own democratically-elected government — maintains that it is an autonomous country but stops short of declaring independence.