China-Taiwan conflict is at its peak as China is exhibiting an aggressive stance on Taiwan. Taiwan is looking to build a larger fleet of submarines to counter the incessant threats from China. Taiwan is keen to have its own submarine fleet and enhance its naval defences as China is getting aggressive with each passing day. Foreign companies are offering competitive designs and capabilities to build a new fleet of submarines in Taiwan itself.
As reported by the South China Morning Post, in April 2018 the US allowed transfer of technologies needed for submarines to Taiwan. Following this, six foreign firms have been competing for Taiwan’s indigenous defence submarine programme which enables it to confront China with a larger power.
Taiwan’s indigenous defence submarine programme aims to build eight new diesel-electric submarines and to upgrade four of the existing submarines that Taiwan has. Out of the existing four submarines that Taiwan has, only two are capable of combat but need to be upgraded to the earliest looking at China’s aggressiveness. Taiwan’s indigenous defence submarine programme began in 2014 but it has had constraints one after the other in terms of procuring sensitive technologies.
The Rehfeldt Group is a US firm that has worked closely with Taiwan in terms of technology transfers needed for defence innovations. The chairman of the group said that Taiwan has an efficient navy and air force but it needs to focus more on its submarines. He, however, refrained from commenting if his company is working with Taiwan for country’s indigenous defence submarine programme.
A top military source told SCMP that Taiwan also has plans to upgrade its 2 submarines which are 30 years old. These two Dutch submarines were launched in 1982 and 1986 respectively. In 2016, the military of Taiwan proposed a life extension project for these two submarines with the aim of increasing their operational capabilities by 15 years.
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