《TAIPEI TIMES》 Submarine prototype could be ready ahead of schedule – 焦點

The Hai Hu, a Chien Lung-class submarine, front, is pictured at a harbor in an undated photograph.
Photo: Taipei Times, file photo

2023/04/02 03:00

By Lo Tien-pin and Jonathan Chin / Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Indigenous Defense Submarine (IDS) prototype is expected to undergo a harbor acceptance test in September, a sea acceptance test in February next year and, if it passes, be delivered to the navy in the first half of 2025 instead of November 2025, defense officials said yesterday.

The goal of the IDS program is to create a fleet of nine to 11 domestic diesel-electric submarines that would defend the waters around Taiwan, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The IDS prototype features a partial double-hull design consisting of six pressurized compartments and a conning tower, which have been completed, certified and are undergoing encapsulation, they said.

The boat would be 70m long, 8m wide and 18m high, including the conning tower, and have a displacement of 2,500 tonnes to 3,000 tonnes, the officials said.

It would have a pair of stabilizing fins on the sides of the conning tower and an X-shaped tail rudder, they added.

The submarine’s weapons would include 18 MK 48 Mod 6 heavyweight torpedoes and an undisclosed number of Harpoon missiles, they said.

There is reason to believe that due to improved program management the prototype could be completed ahead of schedule in early 2025 or before that, if system tests are successful, the officials said, adding that the project had generous time buffers.

Meanwhile, the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology is poised to deliver the first of its upgraded operational systems for the navy’s aging Chien Lung-class submarines late this year, the officials said.

The navy is overhauling the operational systems used in the Hai Lung and Hai Hu Chien Lung-class submarines, as they are becoming obsolete, they said.

The NT$7.41 billion (US243.32 million) project aims to produce two systems for immediate use and one to be held in reserve, they said.

The project was to be completed next year, but the deadline has since been pushed forward three years due to difficulties in obtaining sensitive technology from overseas, the officials said.

The systems would be delivered one at a time from next year through 2026, with the certification of all systems to be completed at a dedicated testing facility in 2027, they said.

Research and development, systems integration and the sourcing of systems and components from foreign manufacturers is being managed by the institute under supervision of the navy, they added.

News source: TAIPEI TIMES

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