Taipei, Jan. 3 (CNA) A prototype of Taiwan's first locally built submarine is set to be completed for testing in September, marking a milestone in the nation's Indigenous Defense Submarine program, chairman of domestic shipbuilder CSBC Corp. Cheng Wen-lon (鄭文隆) said Tuesday.
The construction of the prototype has continued around the clock after overcoming a series of difficulties thanks to the cooperation of the Naval Shipbuilding Development Center, the Navy's 256th submarine squadron, and a CSBC task force, Cheng said.
Taiwan has allocated a NT$49.36 billion (US$1.6 billion) budget over seven years (2019 to 2025) to build the prototype, hoping to launch an indigenous submarine building program that will make it less dependent on other countries to procure the vessels.
According to a source familiar with the program, more than 40 percent of the submarine, including its airtight doors, water conversion system, hydraulic system and silent air conditioning system, are being locally manufactured.
Currently, six hull sections have been completed, with only the sail cover section left to be completed, the source said, adding that the ultimate goal is for a submarine cluster to take root in Taiwan so more submarines can be built.
Some "red zone" technologies beyond Taiwan's submarine design and building capability, such as its diesel engine, torpedo tubes and other combat equipment, have been procured from overseas, the source said.
The Ministry of National Defense has divided the hardware and technologies Taiwan needs for its submarines into red, yellow and green categories, with "red" parts needing to be imported, "yellow" parts possibly capable of being made locally, and "green" parts those that can easily be made in Taiwan.