Six foreign companies have reportedly submitted design proposals for Taiwan’s ‘Indigenous Defense Submarine’ (IDS) program aimed at building a fleet of eight diesel-electric submarines to replace four aging vessels, Taiwan News reports.
According to the report, among the six companies, there are two from Europe, two from the U.S., as well as an Indian company and a Japanese firm offering designs for the subs.
Designs for the first generation of domestically produced submarines will be approved by March 2019, at which stage the government will begin taking bids for the construction project from domestic companies. Currently, the preliminary designs will be accepted and reviewed before more detailed construction blueprints are completed.
In April, the US State Department authorized the sale of submarine components to the island by American manufacturers.
The Liberty Times notes that both the Ministry of National Defense and U.S. contractors will be involved in choosing the preliminary design before moving on to drafting detailed blueprints, since design must be practical and capable of integrating the technology being transferred from the U.S., which may be a complicated process.
Aside from diesel-electric engines, Taiwan is also seeking air-independent propulsion (AIP) technology, which increases undersea autonomy of a conventional boat, and hull design to manufacture its new submarines.