Taiwan’s IDS Submarine to be Launched Ahead of Schedule

Taiwan is building modern submarine to deter PLA Navy. Source MoD Taiwan.

July 21,2021, Taiwanese media Liberty Times Net (LTN) reported that the first prototype of Taiwan’s Indigenous Defense Submarine (IDS) is expected to be launched in September 2023.

It was reported that Taiwanese top national security officials were looking at speeding up the construction schedule of the IDS, and would like to have the submarine launched in first half of 2024, being delivered to ROC Navy in 2025, because of the massive change in Taiwan-China relations.

LTN quoted an anonymous military official saying that the related institutions have made full inquiries to finish the construction as early as possible all while keeping high construction quality standards, in order to launch the submarine in September 2023 as top national security officials planned.

Possible foreign components in IDS submarine

It was reported in March 2021 that the IDS project progresses following U.S. greenlight for key equipment (known as the “red zone” technologies) supply, such as combat system integration, digital sonar systems, optronic masts (periscopes), torpedoes, torpedo tubes and other combat equipment and diesel engines.

The construction of IDS begun in November 2020, and assembly should be completed by the end of 2022, while systems will be fitted in early 2023, according to LTN’s report.

Promotional materials from the November production-launch revealed the basic shape of the new submarines. They are roughly similar to the Zwaardvis-class boats, indicating that CSBC’s engineers reverse-engineered the design.

The new subs feature a double hull—a rare design feature in non-Russian boats—plus lithium-ion batteries for underwater propulsion. Their armament includes Mark 48 torpedoes and Harpoon anti-ship missiles.

And because of the rising treat of China, Taiwan’s military will also try to bring forward the delivery of torpedoes. The U.S. announced the sale of 18 MK-48 Mod6 Advanced Technology (AT) Heavy Weight Torpedoes (HWT) to Taiwan in May 2020.

In June 2017, The U.S. announced that it will sale 46 MK-48 Mod6 torpedoes to Taiwan. But in the end, ROC Navy purchased only 28 because of the limited budget. A total of 46 MK-48 heavyweight torpedoes were schedule to be delivered by 2028, now Taiwanese military will try to have all of them delivered by 2026.

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