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September 21, 2017

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Locally built submarines could enter service in a decade

Local shipbuilder CSBC Corporation (台船) estimated Tuesday that domestically built submarines could be completed in eight years and be part of the national fleet within 10 years.

President Tsai Ing-wen attended an official send-off Taiwan's Fleet of Friendship at Kaohsiung's Zuoying naval base, where she also took part in a ceremony inaugurating the nation's submarine construction program.

Following the ceremony, CSBC Chairman Cheng Wen-lon said that the design phase of the project would carry on for four years while the construction process would begin afterward, culminating with underwater testing and drills. The overall cost of designing the submarines is estimated at NT$2 billion.

Cheng said although CSBC had already built around 100 vessels for the country's armed forces, submarine construction will present new challenges and difficulties.

He said the company had scoped out the supplies and parts that foreign military complexes had made and might be willing to supply to Taiwan. CSBC was also looking into what parts could be designed domestically.

Other defense officials believe that the core issue of the self-made submarines would be whether equipment and system controls were aligned with each other and whether system reliability could be guaranteed before the vessel submerges.

The military launched the local submarine program in an effort to replace the Navy's aging fleet of submarines.

The Navy previously said that the construction of its first submarine could be completed by 2024.

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