The executive branch of the Taiwanese government, the Executive Yuan, has revealed in a policy report released late January that the integration of pressure hull sections for the prototype Indigenous Defense Submarine (IDS) is expected to be completed by the end of June 2022.
The report also officially confirmed that the keel of the submarine was laid in November 2021, as claimed by local news agencies at that time.
Kaohsiung-based shipyard CSBC Corporation was awarded a design and construction contract for a prototype diesel-electric submarine (SSK) by the Republic of China Navy (RoCN) in May 2019. According to local media reports, the prototype is likely to be launched ahead of projections in September 2023.
The company had earlier declared that the first production-standard boat is expected to be completed at its purpose-built submarine construction facility in the third quarter of 2024, followed by sea trials and commissioning in 2025.
CSBC Corporation is partnering with the state-owned National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) to construct up to eight IDS SSKs worth up to US$16 billion.
The IDS is expected to have an overall length of 70 m and will displace about 2,500 tonnes when submerged. Although detailed performance specifications remain unconfirmed, the RoCN is reportedly expecting an operational range of up to 6,000 nautical miles as well as surface and submerged speeds of around 8 kt and 17 kt, respectively.
It is also expected to be armed with US-made Mk 48 Mod 6 Advanced Technology heavyweight torpedoes and UGM-84L Harpoon Block II missiles, with combat management and sonar systems supplied by US companies such as Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.
Other equipment approved for transfer by the US include optronic masts, torpedo tubes, propulsion equipment, and other critical engineering and mission equipment.
The RoCN operates an ageing submarine force comprising two refurbished Dutch-built Zwaardvis/Hai Lung (Sea Dragon)-class SSKs subs acquired in the late 1980s.
It also maintains two Second World War-vintage former US Navy Guppy II/Hai Shih (Sea Lion)-class boats, which are the oldest submarines in naval service anywhere in the world today, and are understood to be only used for training purposes.
by Jr Ng