The navy has formed an ad hoc unit as it prepares to take delivery of the nation’s first domestically manufactured submarine, a source familiar with the matter said yesterday.
The team was formed earlier this month under the navy’s 256th Submarine Squadron, the source said on condition of anonymity, adding that this is the first time in 37 years that such a unit has been put together to take delivery of a new submarine.
The last time a unit was formed under the squadron was in 1986, when representatives were sent to the Netherlands to take delivery of two Chien Lung (Sword Dragon) class submarines, the source added.
Cheng Wen-lon (鄭文隆), chairman of local shipbuilder CSBC Corp, which is constructing the domestic sub, in May said that a ceremony to launch the vessel would take place in September.
However, the launch would just be ceremonial, as CSBC and the navy must still conduct a series of tests on the prototype before it is delivered to the navy, Cheng said in an interview.
Cheng did not say when he expected the prototype to go into service.
However, he said that nearly 1,000 people are involved in the domestic submarine project, including 40 from the 256th Submarine Squadron.
The squadron is in charge of operating and managing the navy’s existing submarine fleet, which, in addition to the two Dutch Chien Lung-class subs, includes two World War II vintage subs purchased from the US in the 1970s, the ministry said.
However, the two US-made Gabby class subs are now used for training purposes only.
Overall, Taiwan has allocated NT$49.36 billion (US$1.58 billion) from 2019 to 2025 to build the prototype, as part of its plan to launch an indigenous submarine program to make it less dependent on other countries.
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