The Ministry of National Defense yesterday said research on building indigenous diesel-electric submarines with foreign assistance was ongoing and that it supported the program.
In a press statement, the ministry said that in carrying out a resolution of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee, the navy had asked the National Defense Industrial Development Foundation to evaluate four aspects of the program: design work, procurement, technologies and tests.
The three-year evaluation period is progressing well, it added.
The ministry said regardless of whether Taiwan procures diesel-electric submarines from the US or builds its own, US support and assistance is necessary.
As a result, the ministry has been communicating with the US on the program.
The Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) reported yesterday that the administration of former US president George W. Bush had offered to provide eight diesel-electric submarines to Taiwan for about US$12 billion in 2001, but as the program has been stalled for about 12 years, the navy has changed its policy by launching a domestic program with assistance from abroad.
It said that according to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方), the navy proposed allocating NT$140 million (US$4.7 million) for the evaluation part of the program.
The foundation has funds of NT$7 billion and is supporting the indigenous program, it said.
The report said the navy has also formed a task force to identify international experts on production technology and technology transfer negotiations. It said the navy proposed building a prototype submarine in four years, with the boat weighing between 1,000 tonnes and 1,200 tonnes.