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Key components for Taiwan’s first indigenous submarine approved by USA for export.

| 2021

According to information published by Taiwan News on March 16, 2021, key technologies necessary for Taiwan’s first indigenous submarine that are unavailable in the country have received the necessary export licenses, Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正).
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Model of Taiwan’s first indigenous submarine (Picture source: Central News Agency)

The project, which saw construction start last November, requires components and technologies that were color-coded green, yellow, and red according to the difficulty of acquiring them. The “red zone” elements cannot be produced in Taiwan and must be imported, opening the country to the threat of interference by China.

However, Chiu confirmed media reports that all necessary export licenses have been acquired for the remaining key components: an integrated combat system from Lockheed Martin and a digital sonar system from Raytheon, the Liberty Times reported.

The U.S. companies would have needed approval from the Biden administration to issue the export licenses. However, Chiu told the Legislative Yuan there is no timetable for the delivery of these systems.

The first indigenous diesel-electric submarine is scheduled to start operations in 2025, and it will be followed by seven others. They will replace the four aging submarines the country received decades ago.

Taiwan has put an emphasis on the domestic development of a variety of weapons systems, from missiles to vehicles, to strengthen its defenses against China’s increasing aggressiveness.

The Taiwanese Navy currently operates two Hai Shih-class diesel-electric submarines and two Chien Lung-Class (Hai Lung) diesel-electric submarines based at the Tsoying Naval Base in Kaohsiung. The Hai Shih (SS-791) was a Tench-Class submarine while the Hai Pao (SS-792) was a Balao-class submarine. Both of these submarines were transferred from the U.S. Navy to Taiwan in 1973. The Chien Lung-Class submarines are modified versions of Dutch Zwaardvis-class vessels.

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