The military has begun discussions with a foreign nation over the purchase of torpedo decoys for the government’s ongoing indigenous submarine project, a military source said yesterday.
Without identifying the nation, the source, who requested anonymity, said both sides are discussing the configurations of the decoy and a possible delivery date.
No further details concerning the potential deal would be disclosed at this time in the event an agreement is not reached, the source said.
Local media last week reported that Taiwan was having trouble purchasing torpedo decoys from Turkey for the domestic submarine program due to pressure from Beijing.
Minister of National Defense Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) on Wednesday last week said that there was “a little bit of an obstacle,” but that the military was addressing the issue.
The source said that those working on the indigenous submarine project had devised a number of backup plans for securing weapon systems and key components from overseas.
None of the nations that Taiwan had talked to during the early stages of the project had agreed to sell Taiwan torpedo decoys, which was why the military had not considered acquiring such systems a priority, the source said.
It would be acceptable if Taiwan did not obtain the decoys, the source said, adding that none of Taiwan’s existing submarines have the feature.
Torpedo decoys are designed to be released from submarines to act as false targets.
The government has allocated NT$49 billion (US$1.77 billion) over seven years to design and build an indigenous submarine, with the goal of boosting Taiwan’s defense capabilities amid a growing threat from China’s military.
A prototype of a domestically produced submarine is scheduled to be completed by 2024 and delivered to the navy in 2025.
The navy last month held a keel-laying ceremony for the submarine prototype, to signal the completion of the vessel’s first phase of construction one year after the work began.
Taiwan has four aging submarines in its fleet, two of which are World War II-era vessels purchased from the US in the 1970s.
The other two were acquired from the Netherlands in the 1980s.
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