Monday, October 27, 2014

What the Heck, Take Your Time, Taiwan

After waiting 13 years to decide to buy subs that we don't sell, Taiwan will--if all goes well--build their own by 2025.

Hey, what's the rush?

Taiwan is moving ahead with plans to build its own submarines, with an initial design to be completed by the year-end, after lengthy delays in getting eight vessels under a 2001 U.S. defense deal and as China's navy expands rapidly.

Seven months ago they were pondering the notion. Now they will have a plan by the end of the year. The initial design, anyway. Perhaps a general view scribbled on a napkin?

The new article says that Taiwan judges China will be capable of invading Taiwan by 2020.

This article says the subs will be ready by ... when?

Military officials here recently said Taiwan will build its four of its own 1,500-tonne displacement diesel-electric attack submarines by 2025, with a budget of about NT$150 billion (US$4.9 billion).

Ah, four by 2025. Five years after Taiwan judges China capable of invading Taiwan.

I'm sure that schedule of building a new type of weapons system won't slip at all.

And assuming Taiwan has any submarine expertise left by then.

Taiwan just doesn't seem to have a sense of urgency on this issue. Or about any other defense issue, it seems, despite the lengthening military shadow that China has been casting over that island democracy.

UPDATE: Taiwan still uses their World War II subs. But I assume they really are only used for training as I've read in the past despite the article's focus on their staus as active subs in Taiwan's fleet considering this information:

The navy is planning to spend more than Tw$800 million ($26.35 million) to overhaul one of the old subs next year.

Both will get new hulls as they are currently unable to dive more than 20 metres (66 feet) -- less than a tenth of their design depth -- due to warped pressure hulls and metal fatigue.

So Taiwan really just has two subs dating from the 1980s for combat missions.

On the bright side, rebuilding the hulls will be good practice for building all new subs.