Taiwan’s Navy will request funding from the nation’s parliament to purchase up to eight new submarines in the next two months, a move that will revive submarine acquisition after more than a decade of delays and setbacks.
Taiwan is likely to choose a potential bidder from three different countries that have offered to either build submarines or sell German-built submarines that were recently decommissioned frigates from their fleets, reported Defense News citing the United Daily News.
Taiwan navy said that though US remained its preferred option when it came to purchasing submarines, other sources will also be considered.
The Navy also has plans to develop its own submarine prototype under a domestic submarine programme that will begin next year, while the prototype is expected to be delivered to the Taiwan navy within three to four years.
The Navy aims to build submarines which have a relatively light displacement capacity of between 1,000 tonnes and 1,500 tonnes.
The Taiwan naval authorities have also planned to send its personnel abroad to study production technology or to seek technology transfers to develop pressure-resistant hulls.
As part of the US comprehensive arms package to Taiwan, former US President George Bush approved the sale of eight conventional submarines in April 2001.
Currently, the navy operates a fleet of four submarines, of which two are mothballed and two are frigates commissioned in 1940s.