The government expects to have a “keel laying” ceremony for a submarine prototype by November — one year after its construction started — while three mine-laying vessels are to be delivered by the end of this year, an Executive Yuan report to the Legislative Yuan said yesterday.
“Keel laying” is jargon in the shipbuilding industry to describe the ceremonies, even for submarines, which do not have keels, a navy officer said.
The ceremony signals the completion of the first modular part, the officer said.
Taiwan’s indigenous shipbuilding programs are progressing on or ahead of schedule, demonstrating that they are a boost to the nation’s shipbuilding industry and the military, the report said.
The Ministry of National Defense invested NT$49.3 billion (US$1.78 billion) to build a prototype submarine and secured a contract with CSBC Corp, Taiwan (台灣國際造船) in May 2019.
Since construction began on Nov. 24 last year, CSBC has completed shoreside testing facilities and the first modular section of the prototype is expected to be completed by November, the report said.
All of the vessel’s modular sections are scheduled to be completed by the end of next year, a military source said, adding that equipment installation might be completed by the first half of 2023.
The launch of the prototype is planned for September 2023, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
After it undergoes sea trials and testing through the remainder of 2023, it would be delivered to the navy in 2024, the source said.
The ministry’s budget for fiscal 2022 says that it is to dispatch teams to the US and Europe to inspect facilities that are manufacturing parts for the submarine.
The teams would inspect the quality of the systems when they are delivered and oversee testing, the budget report says.
A separate team is to attend a seminar on submarines in the US, and meet with serving and retired US naval officers, as well as representatives of submarine manufacturers, to discuss issues pertaining to submarine warfare, safety and construction, the budget report says.
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